Sign up
Biography and information
Frans Hals (Frans Hals, 1581/1585, Antwerp, Spanish Netherlands (now Belgium) - August 29, 1666, Harlem, Netherlands) - the great artist of the Golden Age of Holland, who developed a free technique, close to impressionism. He introduced his lively style in Dutch painting and played an important role in the evolution of the group portrait of the XVII century.

Features creativity Frans Hals. Although Frans Hals won recognition as a portrait painter, he also created genre scenes and images of four evangelists. The popularity of his works, among which there are a number of important group portraits, is shown by the “General Description of the City of Harlem” dated 1628. Its author, Samuel Ampsing, praises the ability of the artist "Capture the portraits of the spirit of their models".

At the same time the city dweller Theodor Schrevelius noted that the works of the painter reflect "Such a force and life"that seems like he "Defies nature with his brush". Centuries later, Vincent Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo: “What a pleasure to look at the works of Frans Hals, how different they are from other paintings - most of them - where everything is so carefully smoothed and written in the same manner.

Unlike his contemporaries, Khals avoided the polished texture and the smooth application of paint in his works. He emphasized the details and gave liveliness to the models with the help of visible strokes, lines and large color spots. This technique has become very popular in the XIX century, especially among the impressionists.

Famous paintings by Frans Hals. "A banquet of officers of the Harlem Rifle Guild George, "Laughing Chevalier", “Group portrait of a regent for women’s shelter for the elderly in Harlem”,"Group Portrait of Regents for the Elderly Shelter in Harlem"

Rembrandt, Vermeer, two wives

In the pantheon of Dutch artists of the Golden Age Frans Hals takes the next place afterRembrandt and - last about a hundred years - Jan Vermeer. At the same time in the second half of the XIX century in certain circles, especially in Paris, he was valued even higher than both of them. At that time, Vermeer's little legacy was just beginning to be rediscovered, and Hals’s bright palette and bold writing style attracted realist and impressionist artists more than the time-honored Rembrandt technique.

Meanwhile, information about the first 20 - 30 years of the life of the painter is extremely scarce. It is known that he was born in Antwerp somewhere between 1581 and 1585 in the family of the weaver Franschua Hals and his second wife Adriana van Gertenrik. Shortly after the siege of Antwerp in 1585, the family moved to Harlem, where Frans Hals remained until his death (not counting a few short trips, including in 1616 to Antwerp, where he met Peter Paul Rubens).

There is no information about who was the teacher of the young talent. According to some reports, he entered the apprentice to Karel van ManderaHowever, he does not mention this fact in his “Book of Artists”. One would assume that the master took the young man after he published the treatise in 1604, but from 1603 until his death he did not live in Harlem. Thus, the first reliably documented fact in the biography of Hals is his entry into the Guild of St. Luke in 1610.

Approximately at the same time he married the daughter of the bleacher Anneke Harmensdir. They had three children, but only one of them, Harmen, who followed in the footsteps of a parent, reached adulthood. This union was supposed to enter Halsa into the ruling elite, because the godfather and guardian of Anneka was a rich brewer and member of the city council, Iov Klaes Giybland. However, for unknown reasons, he was little interested in the artist and his family. This is eloquently indicated by the fact that he did not prevent the bury of Anneka in a mass grave after her death in May 1615.

Two years later, Hals took a second wife for himself - the daughter of glassblower Lizbet Rainierdir, a woman of violent temper whom the city authorities had repeatedly articulated for scandals. She bore him 11 children (and the first daughter — nine days after marriage), four of whom also became painters. The total number of artists in the family was about ten people, including his brother, nephews and son-in-law of Hals, but no one reached the heights of his skill.

Success and poverty

In 1616, the artist's career went uphill: he was ordered to write a banquet of officers of the Guild of the Riflemen of St. George. It was the first of ten large group portraits that Hals had created for public institutions. The last two, representing regents and regents of Harlem shelters for the elderly, belong to the year 1664, when the master was about eighty-two years old. Since the 1860s, these and other works by Hals have made a museum in his native Harlem a mecca for artists such as Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet,Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, John Singer Sargent, James Abbott McNeil Whistler,William Merritt Chase other.

Images were ordered to Halsa by brewers and shopkeepers, preachers and theologians, healers and admirals, writers and high-ranking officials; the famous French philosopher posed for him Rene Descartes. His group portraits gained fame outside of Harlem, and in 1633 the master was asked to write a company of captain Rayner Real and lieutenant Cornelis Blau. Khals started the painting, but after a long conflict with the client, he quit the job, and the canvas, which is now known as "Lean Company"I had to finish Peter Codde.

But, despite the recognition, the artist constantly experienced material difficulties, mainly due to the large number of his family. Even in the 1630s, when his portraitist services were valued above all, he was sued by a butcher, baker, and shoemaker for unpaid debts. In 1654, Hals paid the baker by giving away some household items and five paintings, including worksMarten van Hemskerk and Karel van Mandera.

From 1662 until his death, Hals received a subsidy from the city council. Initially, it was a one-time payment of 50 guilders plus an annual allowance of 150 guilders, then the amount increased to 200 guilders. Previously, the masters were exempted from paying contributions to the Guild of St. Luke, which, however, was not due to financial insolvency, but his old age.

Frans Hals died in 1666 and was buried on September 1 at St. Bavo’s Church, the largest Protestant church in Harlem. His wife survived him for about nine years, and she had to exist on benefits for the poor.

Cheap black

Hals’s artistic style was transformed throughout his life. Bright colorful pictures of the early period were gradually replaced by works in which one tone prevailed. After 1641, the painter showed a tendency to limit the palette, he rather hinted at the color, rather than showing it. Later in the works began to dominate the dark, even black shades; the strokes became weaker, the small details faded into the background compared with the general impression.

If early pictures radiated fun and liveliness ("Jolly on Shrovetide", "Gypsy", "Group portrait of officers of the Harlem rifle company"), later images emphasized the status and dignity of the people depicted ("Portrait of a traveler", "Portrait of an Old Woman"). Such asceticism is manifested in the group portraits of the regents of the Harlem poorhouse and the regent of the women's shelter for the elderly (both ca. 1664). These are masterpieces of color, although in fact they are monochrome. The paints were getting darker from year to year, until the shadows turned to almost completely black, like on "Portrait of Timan Oosdorp".

Since this trend coincides with the period of Hals poverty, some historians suggest that his tendency to black and white pigments is dictated by their lower price compared to expensive colorful varnishes and carmine.

Many works of Halsa disappeared over the centuries, but no one knows exactly how much. According to the most authoritative catalog to date, compiled by Seymour Slive in 1970-1974, another 222 paintings can be attributed to the artist. Another expert, Klaus Grimm, believes that their number is less - 145.

It is not known whether Khals ever painted landscapes, still lifes, or narrative works. However, this is unlikely. Most of the 17th century Dutch artists had specialization, and Hals seemed to be a “pure” portrait painter.

Technique and heritage

Many believe that Hals was creating his work in one step. Scientific and technical studies have shown that this impression is incorrect. Much of the paintings contain successive layers, as was the case at that time. Sometimes the drawing was applied with chalk or paint over gray or pink soil, and then gradually filled up. It seems that the artist put paint very loosely - this is especially noticeable in several late, mature works. Hals showed great courage, courage and virtuosity. He had the ability to tear the brush from the canvas or panel at the climax. He did not “paint over models for death”, as most of his contemporaries did, regardless of whether their clients asked for it or not.

The “schematic” manner of Hals was not unique to the 17th century — such an approach already existed in Italy a century earlier. The artist was probably inspired by the work of his colleagues Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck.

It is worth noting that Frans Hals was also a good teacher. He trained five sons (Harman, Frans the Younger, Rainier, Nicholas and Jan) and future son-in-law - genre painter and master of still lifes Peter van Rostraten. In addition, in his studio studiedAdrian brower and Adrian van Ostade. Despite the lack of documents, it is also believed that the craft of painting he comprehendedJan Mince Molenar and Judith Leicester; in any case, the last Hals was intimately acquainted.

After his death, the painter gradually lost his reputation. For two centuries, the value of his works has fallen so much that some of the paintings that have now become the pearls of public collections were sold for just a penny. But from the middle of the XIX century, the prestige of Hals rose again, and with it the cost of work. In 1889"Portrait of Peter van de Brooke" was sold for 4 thousand. 420 pounds, and nine years later, the National Gallery in London paid 25 thousand for"Family group portrait in the background of the landscape" from the collection of Lord Talbot de Malahide.

Now the paintings of Hals are in museum collections around the world. Since the end of the XIX century, they were collected by connoisseurs everywhere - from Antwerp to Toronto and from London to New York. Many paintings and panels were then sold to American collectors, who appreciated the artist’s uncritical attitude toward wealth and status.

The largest collection of works by the painter is in the Frans Hals Museum in Harlem.

Author: Vlad Maslov
Did you like the article? Share it with friends
  Share    Tweet