ON THE LIFE AND WORK OF THE PAINTER FRANS HALS, 1582-1666
The life of Frans Hals
Frans Hals is regarded, along with Rembrandt and Vermeer, as one of the three great Dutch old masters. Frans was born in 1582/83 as the son of a cloth maker. The Southern Dutch family moved to Haarlem around 1586. Frans Hals was probably a pupil of Karel van Mander and became a member of the Guild of St Luke in 1610, relatively old for that time. His earliest recognised work dates from 1611. He must therefore have been an accomplished painter much earlier.
In 1616, he travelled to Antwerp to study the work of Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck. From 1612 to 1624, Frans Hals served in the local militia, where the regular term of service was normally two years. Frans Hals painted his first militia painting in 1616 and his last in 1639.
Frans married twice and had fourteen children, five of whom he trained as painters. Around 1615, Frans Hals was in financial difficulties, which ensured that poverty would haunt him all his life. Perhaps that was the reason why he continued to paint into old age. He was well over 80 when he painted his famous portraits of the regents of the old men's home, the monumental building that now houses the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, named after him.
Frans Hals died at the age of about 84 and is buried in the Grote or Sint-Bavokerk on the Grote Markt in Haarlem.
The work of Frans Hals
Frans Hals is known for his exuberant style and his dashing, loose brushwork and intimate, enigmatic drama. He had daring and virtuosity. He did not paint his models dead, which distinguishes him from his contemporaries, whose accuracy often did. Although Frans Hals is famous for his lively portraits of people, no independent self-portraits of him have survived. He did, however, paint himself in his last civic guard piece of 1639.
Frans Hals was not only famous in his own time. In 1813, the English painter james Northcote wrote in terms of character representation, he [Frans Hals] was certainly the greatest painter who ever lived'..
The Impressionists of the nineteenth century regarded Hals as a kindred spirit and were full of admiration for his loose brushstrokes and use of colour. Artists such as Manet, Monet and Courbet even travelled all the way to Haarlem to see Frans Hals' masterpieces. The American James McNeil Whistler could not stop himself from touching a painting by Hals and Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother that Hals used 'as many as 27 shades of black'. Frans Hals is still a great source of inspiration for contemporary artists worldwide, such as Kehinde Wiley.
The Frans Hals Museum and Muurmeesters have introduced a new collection called Haerlemsche Meesters. The world-famous marksmen paintings by Frans Hals, but also portraits, are now available for your wall! You will find these unique Muurmeesters in the category Haerlemsche Meesters
A masterpiece of Frans Hals on your wall?
Do you want an impressive masterpiece of Frans Hals on your wall? Take a look at his paintings and choose your favourite in the desired size.