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Frans Hals

Antwerp 1581 - 1666 Haarlem
Price range
500,000 – 3,000,000 USD +
Frans Hals was a celebrated Dutch portraitist of the seventeenth century renowned for his impromptu style.

No drawings by Hals are known and his paintings are characterized by spirited, freely applied wet-in-wet brushstrokes and impastoed textures — an innovation that parallels the abstract qualities of Diego Velázquez and heralds those of Édouard Manet. Chiefly active in Haarlem, Hals built on the efforts of Goltzius (1558–1617), Cornelis van Haarlem (1562–1638) and Karel van Mander (1548–1606) in forming a self-conscious identity propelled by the Dutch independence and bourgeoning capitalist art market. His subjects ranged from individuals of the debonair elite class down to gypsies and fishermen, often set against a monochrome background, to depictions of families and groups of civic militia, which form the apotheosis of the collective portrait that emerged as a distinctive genre of the nascent Republic. Hals’ oeuvre constitutes the best social documentation of the outward fashion and the inner conflict increasingly brought by the ‘embarrassment of the riches’ witnessed during his lifetime — a contribution recognized today by the dedication of the Haarlem municipal museum to the artist.

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Selected Artworks

Top 3 auction prices

12,803,437 $
12,852,804 $
13,976,467 $


The sales are: Christie’s London – 6 Dec 2018 lot 00010 (10,021,250 GBP), Christie’s London – 8 Jul 1999 lot 00219 (8,251,500 GBP), and Sotheby’s London – 9 Jul 2008 lot 00026 (7,097,250 GBP).
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Notable exhibitions

London, The National Gallery, Frans Hals, 30 September 2023 – 21 January 2024; travelled to the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 16 February – 9 June 2024; travelled to the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, 12 July – 3 November 2024. Curated by Bart Cornelis, Katja Kleinert, et. al.

Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, Frans Hals: Eye to Eye with Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian, 23 March – 28 July 2013. Curated by Anna Tummers and Christopher Atkins.

London, The National GalleryDutch Portraits: The Age of Rembrandt and Frans Hals, 27 June – 16 September 2007; travelled to The Hague, The Mauritshuis, 13 October 2007 – 13 January 2008. Curated by Rudi Ekkart and Quentin Buvelot.

Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art, Frans Hals, 1 October – 31 December 1989; travelled to London, Royal Academy of Arts, 13 Jan – 8 April 1990; Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, 11 May – 22 July 1990. Curated by Seymour Slive.


Books on Frans Hals

Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of the Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age, New York, 1987.

Seymour Slive, Frans Hals, 2nd revised ed., London, 2014.

Anna Tummers, Frans Hals: Eye to Eye with Rembrandt, Rubens and Titian, Rotterdam, 2013.

Christopher D.M. Atkins, The Signature Style of Frans Hals: Painting, Subjectivity, and the Market in Early Modernity, Amsterdam, 2012.

Walter Liedtke, Frans Hals, Style and Substance, New Haven, 2011.

Frans Hals: Exhibition on the Occasion of the Centenary of the Municipal Museum at Haarlem, 1862-1962, exh. cat., Haarlem, 1962.

Cornelis de Bie, Het Gulden Cabinet vande Edel Vry Schilder-Const, 1662, reprint, Antwerp, 1971.

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