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Aliases: Frans (1) Hals, Frans (1582) Hals
Painter, Portrait painter, Genre PainterView items sold at auction
(b Antwerp, Belgium, 1580; d Haarlem, Dutch Republic, 1666) Dutch painter. Frans Hals is considered as one of the greatest portrait painter of the Dutch Golden Age. He studied under the Flemish engraver, Karel van Mander, whose mannerist style remained a noticeable influence in Hals's later works. At the age of 27, he became a member of Haarlem’s painter’s cooperation, the Guild of Saint Luke, as one of the city council’s art restorer. Hals’s breakthrough work was the 1616 life size group portrait, The Banquet of the Officers of the Saint George Militia Company, and his most famous painting is the1649 portrait of the French philosopher, Rene Descartes. As his career evolved, his brushwork became more spontaneous and unhesitating, his details became less meticulous and more abstract, and the use of deeper colors allowed him to explore a more intimate expression of the subject’s psyche, to create a more harmonious and peaceful effect, while retained an energetic execution. Two centuries after his death, Hals’ paintings were rediscovered at the dawn of impressionism by painters such as Manet, Courbet, and Cézanne; most notable was the interest taken in Hals by fellow countryman, Van Gogh, who wrote: “[Hals] is certainly worth as much as Dante’s Paradise and Michelangelo’s and Raphael’s and even the Greeks. It is as beautiful as Zola, healthier as well as merrier, but as true to life, because his epoch was healthier and less dismal. (Credit: Christie’s, London, Collection of Baron Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild, July 8, 1999, Lot 219)
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