Een nieuwe kijk op Franchoys Elaut (I589-I635)

in Oud Holland – Journal for Art of the Low Countries
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In this article a newly researched biography and a fresh look at the small oeuvre of the Haarlem painter Franchoys Elaut - hitherto called 'Elout' in art-historical literature - are presented. Franchoys Elaut was born in August Ι589 into a family that had moved from Ghent to Haarlem, probably some five years earlier. Biographical research is complicated by the fact that between Ι585 and Ι698 ten or eleven persons of the same name, all members of the same family, were registered in Haarlem. Nothing is known about the painter's training and early activity. He may not have started out as a painter; his earliest known work dates from Ι627 (fig. 2), and was therefore painted when he was about thirty-eight. The following year, however, Samuel Ampzing praised Elaut's still lifes in his book about Haarlem. Also in Ι627 a Francois Elaut - probably the painter - was registered as a musketeer in a company of the civic guard and was a witness at the baptism of Frans Hals' son Reinier. In Ι628 Franchoys Elaut married Anneke Jans; daughters were baptised in Ι629 and Ι632. Our painter probably fell victim to the plague that afflicted Haarlem in Ι635: his burial is registered as having taken place on September 22 of that year and in the books of the Haarlem guild for Ι637 he is noted as 'dead'. Art-historical literature has always presented Elaut as a painter of still lifes only, but he produced works in other genres as well. In The Hague a 'tronie', a head of an old man, signed with his monogram and dated Ι632, has surfaced on two occasions (fig. 5). Two such works by Elaut appear to have been offered for sale in Haarlem as early as Ι63Ι, together with five still lifes by the artist. Additionally, two genre paintings in the manner of Dirck Hals, one of which is now in Munich, can be attributed to Franchoys Elaut (fig. 7). Both paintings are in keeping with Haarlem traditions of the time. Of the still lifes hitherto ascribed to Elaut, only two signed examples can be established securely as his work (figs. Ι and 2). These can be supplemented by two more still lifes, one of which- monogrammed and dated Ι630, but unfortunately in poor condition - surfaced quite recently (fig. 3). The other was on the market several times this century as a work by Pieter Claesz. (fig. 4). Both in his still lifes and genre pieces Franchoys Elaut showed himself to be an eager and able follower of the latest stylistic developments and an artist whose works, according to Ampzing's testimony, must have commanded a certain amount of respect in seventeenth-century Haarlem.

Een nieuwe kijk op Franchoys Elaut (I589-I635)

in Oud Holland – Journal for Art of the Low Countries


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