Frans Hals Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions

3-1582 Antwerp, BEL – 8-26-1666 Haarlem, NED

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Hals, Frans

Frans Hals the Elder born in Antwerp about 1580, Frans Hals moved with his family to Haarlem at an early age and spent the whole of his life there. It is believed that he received his earliest instruction from Adam Van Noort in Antwerp but continued his studies under Van Mander.

None of his earliest works appear to have survived, but from 1618 onwards, when Frans Hals painted Two singing boys with a lute and a music book and The Banquet Of The Officers Of The St Hadrian Civic Guard Company, his works show technical mastery allied to that spirit and passion which made him equal to Rembrandt in portraiture. Contemporaries such as Rembrandt moved their households according to the caprices of their patrons, but Hals remained in Haarlem and insisted that his customers come to him.

Frans Hals most famous work, The Laughing Cavalier is universally recognized, but it is only one of many expressive portraits, distinguished by a liveliness that was far ahead of its time and anticipating the work of the Impressionists. The earliest portraits by Frans Hals are virtually the quintessence of Baroque art: in sumptuous garments, the sitter strikes majestic, theatrical poses. The details of their accessories and above all, their bold expressions reveal confidence in their own resources and in the general situation at the time.

After 1640 his work mellowed and he adopted a darker and more contemplative style. One simple way to observe this change is to look at all of the portraits that he painted through the years with his trademark pose leaning over the back of a chair.

Hals' reputation waned after his death and for two centuries he was held in such poor esteem that some of his paintings, were sold at auction for only a few dollars. Recently, his paintings have been fetching much more, Portrait Of A Man Holding A Book was auctioned at Christie's for over US$5.0 million.

Frans Hals Seventeenth-Century Selfies.

Thanks to the East India Company, the ports of Amsterdam and Rotterdam flourished as financial and trading centers. By the beginning of the seventeenth century, having established a secure basis of widespread wealth, the Dutch felt united and proud. The culture of seventeenth-century Holland is amply reflected in its paintings. Well-off Cavaliers easily tempted by the pleasures of the tavern and drinking sessions with their old comrades in arms. Hals portraits of the people are all happy, not worries, casually sitting as if one would take a selfie today and he painted it. The more closely one examines Dutch paintings, the more details one sees, in very few cases in the history of art has an entire population been so fully revealed in their paintings.

Frans Hals work remains popular today, particularly with young painters who can find many lessons about practical technique from his unconcealed brushstrokes. The Hals crater on Mercury is named in his honor.

Art Movement History: Baroque, Dutch School
Artists Influencing Frans Hals: Adam Van Noort, Karel Van Mander
Painters Frans Hals Influenced: Philips Wouwerman, Adriaen Brouwer, Pieter van Roestraten, Adriaen van Ostade, Dirck van Delen, Lovis Corinth, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Charles-François Daubigny, Max Liebermann, James Abbott Whistler, Gustave Courbet

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