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Staring, Adolph

    Full Name: Staring, Adolph

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1890

    Date Died: 1980

    Place Born: Dordrecht, Gemeente, South Holland, Netherlands

    Place Died: Deventer, Overijssel, Netherlands

    Home Country/ies: Netherlands


    Self-educated art historian and pioneer of 17th- and 18th-century Dutch art studies. Staring grew up in Dordrecht, where his father headed a printing and publishing firm. In 1909, he became a law student in Leiden. In the following years he also began researching and documenting Dutch art, first in the rather neglected field of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century portrait miniatures. An exhibition of portrait miniatures in Rotterdam in 1910 had aroused his interest in this field. In 1917, after having received his doctor’s degree in law, he became a diplomat. Dissatisfied with his service for the Dutch government in Rome, he decided to quit diplomacy. Between 1920 and 1922 he had a position at the municipal museum of The Hague, where he was involved in the organization of the 1921 exhibition, “Het portret in Nederland van 1730-1830.” He also contributed to the catalog and he continued publishing on portrait painting, as well as on related topics, including royal portrait iconography and genealogy. He regularly published on portraits of members of the House Orange-Nassau. Besides painting and drawing he also developed particular interest in Dutch sculpture, applied arts, topography and historic monuments. From 1923 onwards Staring was involved in the foundation of the Oranje-Nassau Museum in The Hague, which opened in 1926. In 1928 he married Jacoba Henriette Magdalena de Mol van Otterloo. In 1931 the couple moved to a country-house in Vorden, which once had belonged to Staring’s great grandfather, the poet A. C. W. Staring (1767-1840). Staring restored the house and the surrounding estate with great care and he enriched the interior with a collection of paintings, drawings and miniatures (the drawings later went to the Print Room of Leiden University, while the miniatures were presented to the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum). During many years he was active in numerous organizations in the field of the preservation of Dutch castles and monuments. In 1936, Staring wrote an essay on eighteenth-century art in Kunstgeschiedenis der Nederlanden, edited by H. E. Van Gelder. In addition to numerous articles, Staring wrote a study on eighteenth-century portraits of Dutch persons by French painters, Fransche kunstenaars en hun Hollandsche modellen in de 18de en in den aanvang der 19de eeuw. (1947) as well as a study on family groups in seventeenth-, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century painting, De Hollanders thuis (1956). His study on the Dutch painter and decorator Jacob the Wit appeared in 1958, Jacob de Wit, 1695-1754. In the foreword Staring acknowledged the archival research on De Wit carried out by Jan Knoef, who had died in 1948, and who shared Staring’s interest in eighteenth- and nineteenth- century art. Staring’s 1958 publication is a thoroughly documented study on the various fields in which De Wit was active as a painter and draughtsman in Amsterdam and its surroundings. It includes a list of De Witt’s works in chronological order, and an English summary. Staring was a groundbreaking explorer of eighteenth-century Dutch art at a time when it was a neglected field. At his 80th birthday, his colleagues in The Netherlands and abroad dedicated the 1970 issue of the Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek to this self-trained pioneering art historian.

    Selected Bibliography

    [complete bibliography to March 1979:] Ekkart, R. E. O. “Lijst van geschriften van Mr. A. Staring.” Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 21 (1970): 391-398; Fransche kunstenaars en hun Hollandsche modellen in de 18de en in den aanvang der 19de eeuw. The Hague: Stols, 1947; Kunsthistorische verkenningen: een bundel kunsthistorische opstellen. The Hague: Stols, 1948; De Hollanders thuis: gezelschapstukken uit drie eeuwen. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1956; Jacob de Wit, 1695-1754. Amsterdam: P. N. Van Kampen & Zoon, 1958; Johann Friedrich August Tischbein’s Hollandse jaren. Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1978.


    Niemeijer, J. W. Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 21 (1970): 1-4; De Roo van Alderwerelt, J. Vereniging “Oranje-Nassau Museum” 1980: 6-7; Van Kretschmar, F. G. L. O. in Jaarboek van het Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie en het Iconografisch Bureau 34 (1980): 45-47; [Baron] Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, C. O. A. Bijdragen en mededelingen Gelre 71 (1980): xi-xiii; Ekkart, R. E. O. J. Charité, ed. Biografisch Woordenboek van Nederland 2. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1985, pp. 533-534.

    Contributors: Monique Daniels


    Monique Daniels. "Staring, Adolph." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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