Published: July 8, 2011
The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds the most important collection of paintings in America by the celebrated Dutch artist Frans Hals (1582/83‱666), whose portraits and genre scenes were famous in his lifetime for their immediacy and dazzling brushwork. “Frans Hals in the Metropolitan Museum,” on view from July 26 through October 10, will present 13 paintings by Hals, including two lent from private collections, and several works by other Netherlandish masters.
Hals is one of the most familiar and accessible of the Old Master painters. His name is second only to Rembrandt’s in the Netherlands and equals Vermeer’s in its evocation of the Golden Age of Dutch art. After falling out of favor in the Eighteenth Century, Hals’s work was championed from the 1860s onward by Realist and Impressionist masters, such as Courbet, Manet and Sargent, and collected by several of the Metropolitan Museum’s major benefactors.
The exhibition will focus primarily on the Metropolitan Museum’s 11 autograph paintings by Hals, which represent the full range of his work apart from large group portraits. Several of the museum’s paintings by Hals are famous, especially the early “Merrymakers at Shrovetide,” circa 1616, and the so-called “Jonker Ramp and His Sweetheart,” 1623, both bequeathed to the museum by Benjamin Altman in 1913. The Metropolitan has two other genre scenes by Hals, as well as seven fine portraits dating from the 1620s through the 1650s.
Also included in the exhibition will be two loans from private collections in New York †the small, exquisite “Portrait of Samuel Ampzing,” 1630, on copper, and the well-known “Fisher Girl,” 1630″2. A selection of other Netherlandish paintings from the museum’s collection by artists including Rubens, Van Dyck, Steen and Brouwer will set Hals’s work in the context of his native Haarlem and will help clarify how exceptional his animated poses and virtuoso brushwork were at the time.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a bulletin, written by Walter Liedtke, which will be devoted to Frans Hals’s life and work, and which will also consider each of the Metropolitan Museum’s paintings by Hals in detail. The bulletin will be on sale in the museum’s book shops.
The Metropolitan Museum is at 1000 Fifth Avenue. For information, 212-570-3951 or www.metmuseum.org .
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