Frans Hals

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Frans Hals (copy of a lost self-portrait)
Signature Frans Hals.PNG

Frans Hals (* between 1580 and 1585 in Antwerp , † August 26, 1666 in Haarlem ) was a Dutch painter . He is counted among the most important portrait painters .


Frans Hals was the son of the Antwerp cloth merchant Franchoys Hals van Mechelen and his wife Adriaentgen van Geertenryck. His younger brother, the painter Dirck Hals , was born on March 19, 1591 in Haarlem.

Frans Hals was probably an apprentice of the painter Carel van Mander in Haarlem until 1603 . In 1610 he was accepted into the Lukasgilde , the local painters' guild of Haarlem. In the same year he married his first wife Anneke Harmensdaughter. The first son Harmen was born on September 2, 1611. In 1615 his wife died after the birth of their second son Frans and was buried in the poor cemetery of the city of Haarlem. Hals couldn't finance a better funeral. He suffered from a lack of money all his life. In 1616, during a stay in Antwerp, the wet nurse who looked after his children was even dependent on claiming the food money .

In 1617 he married Lysbeth Reyniers, who would give him eight more children. In the end, Hals had ten children. Five sons were also raised and trained to be painters, namely:

Young woman , around 1655–1660

The most important of the early works are the portraits of the Haarlem Rifle Guild , all of which he painted after 1616. He completed the last of these paintings in 1637. That year, all of Holland suddenly ended the orders for shooter pictures. Frans Hals then switched to painting group pictures of hospital managers .

After the deaths of Peter Paul Rubens (1640) and Anthony van Dyck (1641), Frans Hals became the most important portrait painter in the Netherlands . In 1644 he became head of the Haarlem painters' guild. He painted a large number of individual portraits , including of such important personalities as René Descartes (1648) and of the aged cloth merchant Willem van Heythuysen . Significant public commissions were added to portraits of private individuals, which cemented his international reputation.

Frans Hals was already famous during his lifetime, and his clientele reached far beyond Haarlem's borders. For example, several Frans Hals paintings are listed in the 1680 estate inventory of the painter Jan van de Cappelle . This Amsterdam artist had himself portrayed by both Rembrandt and Frans Hals.

Its importance ranks higher than that of Rubens, Rembrandt or Vermeer . Many streets in the Netherlands and Flanders are named after him, such as the Frans Halsstraat in Kerkrade - Haanrade . It was also shown on the NLG banknote in circulation from 1968 to 1985 .


Feast of the officers of the St Hadrian Rifle Guild of Haarlem
Portrait of Pieter Verdonck, ca.1627

According to the catalog raisonné by Seymour Slive (1974), Frans Hals assigned 222 paintings, plus 20 paintings that are considered lost. 81 other paintings were ascribed to him, but these attributions are viewed critically or rejected.

His earliest datable secured work that portrait of Jacobus Zaffius , dates back to 1611. The highlight of his early work is the feast of the officers of St. George - Archers of 1616. In addition, he created genre paintings of drunkards, Gypsies and women in their work, to There are also many children's portraits such as The Rommelpotplayer . From 1626 onwards, Frans Hals' style changed, partly inspired by the influences of the Utrecht Caravaggists .

His paintings, executed with bold brushstrokes and appearing sketchy (for example Malle Babbe ), are characterized by great liveliness and apt characterization . The Impressionists saw one of their forerunners in Frans Hals.

His portrait of a portrait of a young man was stolen from the exhibition in Schloss Friedenstein during an art theft by Gotha in 1979 and has since been considered lost. On December 6, 2019, it was announced that the painting may have surfaced again and has been in the care of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin since September 2019 , where it will be authenticated by the Rathgen research laboratory .


In art historical literature, his pupils are referred to as:

Museums with works by Frans Hals

Frans Hals' grave in St. Bavo's Church in Haarlem
Monument to Frans Hals in Haarlem.


Frans Hals: Portrait of Theodorus Schrevelius . 1617

“With his extraordinary way of painting, which is unique, he actually surpasses everyone. His pictures are filled with such power and vitality that nature itself seems to oppose his brush. This can be seen in all of his portraits. They are painted in such a way that they appear to be alive and breathing. "

- The humanist Theodorus Schrevelius on Frans Hals in his work "Harlemias" published in Haarlem in 1648


Web links

Commons : Frans Hals  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Cornelis Hofstede de Groot : Hals, Frans I. In: Ulrich Thieme , Fred. C. Willis (Ed.): General lexicon of visual artists from antiquity to the present . Founded by Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker . tape 15 : Gresse – Hanselmann . EA Seemann, Leipzig 1922, p. 531-534 ( Text Archive - Internet Archive ).
  4. Claus Grimm: Frans Hals. Development, work analysis. Complete catalog. Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlin 1972, ISBN 3-7861-4080-4 , p. 32.
  5. Claus Grimm: Frans Hals. Development, work analysis. Complete catalog. Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlin 1972, ISBN 3-7861-4080-4 , pp. 36-37.
  6. Claus Grimm: Frans Hals. Development, work analysis. Complete catalog. Gebr. Mann Verlag, Berlin 1972, ISBN 3-7861-4080-4 , pp. 63-69.
  7. dpa: Spectacular GDR theft: high-quality paintings may have appeared after theft. December 6, 2019, accessed December 6, 2019 .
  8. ^ Konstantin von Hammerstein: Pictures by Holbein and Brueghel the Elder: Paintings from the largest GDR art theft reappeared . In: Spiegel Online . December 6, 2019 ( [accessed December 6, 2019]).
  9. Theodorus Schrevelius: Harlemias , De eerste stichting the city Haerlem, Het toe-nemen en vergrootinge the selfden, hare strange Fortuyn en avontuer in Vrede, in Oorlogh, receipts rings harde begin selenium van d'eerste Reformatie, Politique Raedtslagen, Sc, Haerlem. Thomas Fonteyn, Boeck printer in de Bartel-Ioris-Straet, inde Gekroonde Druckerye. 1648