Salomon Lilian offers Portrait of a Man by Frans Hals, 1635, an oil on canvas (88.5 x 67.5cm) for €10m at Frieze Masters.

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From the sitter’s forthright gaze to the sensitive treatment of his hands, it is a quintessential picture by the Dutch Old Master. It is offered by Salomon Lilian, one of 130 galleries participating in the event, which runs from October 11-14 in The Regent’s Park, London.

Though the subject is unknown, it is sure to grab the attention of visitors - and those buyers ready to stump up the €10m (£8.6m) of its listing.

“It is very rare that there is a great signed Frans Hals on the market,” the gallery told ATG. “It is an A1 painting by an A1 artist.”

Signed and dated 1635, the portrait has not been publicly displayed in more than a century, its last exhibition taking place in Paris, 1911.

The sitter is framed by a trompe l’oeil stone cartouche and is dressed in black clothing and hat set off by a large white ruff. Despite different dates, it has long been associated with a portrait of an anonymous 53-year-old woman which is now in the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent.

Since showing, it has gone under the hammer twice in 1922 and 1953 and was subsequently held in private US collections. It briefly resurfaced at Sotheby’s New York in July 2020 before being withdrawn.

The gallery has since removed extensive overpainting and restorations, allowing the various tones, especially the blacks in the clothing, to show more clearly.

From the price to the major name to its relative market freshness, the portrait would be the envy of any top fair.

For the Frieze fair series, it has the extra attraction of tying into another event in the host city - in this case the Frans Hals exhibition at the National Gallery (September 30-January 1).

Week of events

Masters is only one part of the Frieze machine that comes to London every autumn. Frieze London, its Contemporary counterpart, and a sculpture trail run simultaneously in The Regent’s Park, while other events that have sprung up around the pair of fairs comprise Frieze Week.

Frieze launched in London in 2003, followed by Frieze Masters in 2012. The smaller, more historic fair weights its offerings towards pictures and encourages its exhibitors to organise exhibitions, either singly or as pairs.


This oil on canvas by Canaletto shows Westminster Bridge from the North with the Lord Mayor’s Procession on May 25, 1750. It is offered by Charles Beddington for £2.8m at Frieze Masters.

This year, for example, Charles Beddington and Artur Ramon Art have joined forces with a stand showing Picasso and Canaletto among other top painters, while Galerie Eric Coatalem will showcase French masters of the 17th and 18th centuries alongside G Sarti, which offers the work of Italian artists such as Biagio d’Antonio.

Other highlights are to include a selection of Old Master paintings from Rafael Valls, Ai Weiwei works created between 1983-99 from Galleria Continua and pictures by the 20t century Brazilian artist Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato from Gomide & Co.

At the cutting edge


Three palaeolithic handtools featuring integral holes. These are from an exhibition devoted to prehistoric handtools staged by ArtAncient within the Frieze Masters fair. Prices range from £500-250,000.

Alongside the wealth of pictures, a good supply of antiques and objects can be found.

Take, for example, the celebration of Stone Age hand axes in Before Art, an in-fair exhibition staged by ArtAncient. It comprises 73 European hand axes from the lower and middle palaeolithic eras made in flint.

The group is the result of two collections of palaeolithic hand tools that came to the London gallery at around the same time, and was subsequently built through individual purchases.

Some – such as the selection pictured here – were formed around naturally existing features such as holes which were put at the centre.

Also on offer is a ‘giant’ axe, one of an assortment found in France in the 1950s and thought be among the largest of its kind to exist. A third and final set is notable for the carefully created symmetry.

“The group of hand axes here mainly come from England and France and in contrast to classical antiquities, which were often acquired by well-to-do travellers on the Grand Tour, many of these were collected by ordinary people - labourers, and early pioneers of archaeology,” says gallery director Costas Paraskevaides.

“It’s incredible to touch these objects and know that they were made by a different species, yet they display extraordinary skill, extraordinary aesthetics. There is a sense of humanity and these objects are at the start of a lineage that connects every object on our stand, and at the fair.”

Prices range from £500-250,000.

How to live a long life


The Liechtenstein Tacuinum Sanitatis, an illuminated manuscript on vellum, Padua, c.1450, is offered for £5.7m by Dr Jörn Günther Rare Books at Frieze Masters.

Meanwhile, Dr Jörn Günther Rare Books brings a selection of manuscripts, early printed books and miniatures with a combined value of over £63m.

Among the offerings is a medical handbook, The Liechtenstein Tacuinum Sanitatis, an illuminated manuscript on vellum from Padua, c.1450, which is priced at £5.7m. It offers advice on what to eat and drink to live a long and healthy life. There are 130 full-page miniatures of men and women of different classes, offering a glimpse at medieval life.

Many pieces from beyond the bounds of fine art are presented in the Stand Out section, curated by Luke Syson of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. This year the focus is on colour and the section brings together a selection of objects from ancient China brought by Gisèle Croës, The Baird Casket, one of a group of ivory caskets from secular themes from the 14th century offered by Sam Fogg, and works by French textile artist Simone Prouvé and British weaver Peter Collingwood available from Rose Uniacke.

Other sections include Spotlight, focusing on previously overlooked works created from 1950-70, and Modern Women, celebrating 20th century female artists. n