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