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Frans Hals

 (1580 - 1666)
Frans Hals was active/lived in Netherlands, Belgium.  Frans Hals is known for portrait, figure and genre painting.

Frans Hals

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Biography from the Archives of askART

Frans Hals was born in Antwerp, Belgium between 1581 and 1585, the son of a weaver from Mechelen.  He was a pupil of Karel von Mander from c. 1600-1603. About 1610, Hals married Anacke Hermanszoon, and the following year a son, Herman, was born.  Five years later, Hals was summoned before the magistrates for ill-treating his wife and for drunken habits and violent conduct.  His wife died a few weeks later.

The following year he married Lysbeth Reyniers, a woman of doubtful character, who gave birth to a daughter a few days after the marriage.  The couple lived very happily together for nearly fifty years and raised a family of seven sons and three daughters.

In 1611 he enrolled as an associate of the Haarlem Society of Rhetoricians,  In 1644 he served as a member of the board of the St. Luke Guild of Haarlem.  Frans Hals much preferred to paint fishwives and tavern heroes, but he made his living doing portraits of the rich bourgeoisie of Holland.  His commissions filled the Hals purse but Hals emptied it fast.  Between hard drinking, roistering and bringing up ten children, Hals was usually in debt.  In 1652, his household went up for auction, like that of his great contemporary, Rembrandt.

Like Goya, Hals lived hard but long. Economic conditions were such also that it affected his craft in general.  He was maintained by the city at the rate of two- hundred Carolus gulden per year.  He was eighty-six when he died in 1666. He died in extreme poverty, and for a long time his paintings were held in such low esteem that they could hardly be sold at all.

His famous group portraits are all now in the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem. Although he was one of the great masters of Dutch painting, his work was completely neglected for almost two hundred years, until it was revived by Manet, Whistler and the champions of Impressionism.  He was buried in St. Bavo's Haarlem in 1666.

Written and Submitted September 2004 by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Timken Art Gallery Catalogue
New York World's Fair 1940 catalogue
Masterpieces of Art
From the internet, Microsoft Encarta

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About  Frans Hals

Born:  1580 - Antwerp, Belgium
Died:   1666 - Haarlem, Holland
Known for:  portrait, figure and genre painting