Hals meets Manet, Singer Sargent and van Gogh

The sensational major exhibition Frans Hals and the Moderns in the Frans Hals Museum will be the first time that Frans Hals’ paintings have been shown alongside reactions to his work by painters from the late 19th century. Through works from its own collection and some fifty loan works, the exhibition shows the enormous impact that Hals had on Modern painters, who considered him as one of their own: ‘Hals, c’est un moderne’, stated the Belgian magazine L’Art Moderne in 1883. ‘It is especially relevant that we are holding the exhibition that we have always “had to hold” at this particular point in time, because it is exactly 150 years since Frans Hals was rediscovered,’ according to Ann Demeester, director of the museum. The exhibition shows how innovative Frans Hals was. It is on view at the Hof building in Haarlem from 13 October 2018 to 24 February 2019 .

The rediscovery of Frans Hals

Exactly 150 years ago – in 1868 – Frans Hals was ‘rediscovered’ by the influential French art critic Théophile Thoré-Bürger. Hals had been ignored by art critics for most of the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. His innovative style of painting with its loose brushwork no longer matched the current academic style. Hals’ frivolous way of life was often associated with his loose style of painting and was presented to young artists as a ‘bad example’. As a result, his paintings were of little value on the art market and the name Frans Hals was missing from most retrospectives of the Golden Age. In a short time, Hals’ image changed from that of a riotous drunk to a modern idol. Frans Hals was admired, even worshipped by late-19th century artists such as Édouard Manet, Max Liebermann, John Singer Sargent and Vincent van Gogh. Many of them copied portraits and group portraits to literally ‘get to grips’ with his style. Hals inspired them, as can be inferred from their use of colour, light and shadows, the poses of the sitters, the choice of subject, and their fascination with his collars. Hals’ chiaroscuro effects and the suggestion of movement can still be seen in the early days of photography. Illustrations by illustrator/ animator Aart Taminiau (born 1982) show the visitor the story of the Moderns. It’s almost like the spectator is looking over the modern painters’ shoulders.

The masterpieces on show: malle babbe and joseph roulin

The museum is delighted to have so many special works by other great painters on loan from national and international museums and private collections. The following paintings have, for example, never been on view in the Netherlands before:
– Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin (1888) and Madame Roulin and her Baby (1888) by Van Gogh
– Corner of a Café – concert (1878/80) and Boy with Pitcher (1862/72) by Manet
– a lost copy by Manet of a group portrait by Hals, which was discovered recently
– Head of a Prostitute (1885) by Van Gogh, a special work on loan from the Van Gogh Museum

Other works by Hals have also returned to their hometown, such as The Smoker, Laughing Boy and Malle Babbe. For the first time in history, two Malle Babbe’s will be shown together: the original by Frans Hals (1633/35) and the copy made by Gustave Courbet (1869). Hals’ Malle Babbe, from the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin, was on view for the last time in 1995.

More information: franshalsmuseum.nl