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Frans Hals in the Metropolitan Museum

Frans Hals in the Metropolitan Museum

July 26–October 10, 2011
Press Preview: Monday, July 25, 10 a.m. - noon

The Metropolitan Museum of Art holds the most important collection of paintings in America by the celebrated Dutch artist Frans Hals (1582/83-1666), 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, 2011—will present 13 paintings by Hals, including two lent from private collections, and several works by other Netherlandish masters.

Frans 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 resonance with the Golden Age of Dutch Painting. After falling out of favor in the 18th 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 (ca. 1616) and the so-called Jonker Ramp and His Sweetheart (1623), both bequeathed to the Museum by Benjamin Altman in 1913. The Metropolitan Museum 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 (1630-32). A selection of other Dutch paintings from the Museum's collection and a few engravings 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. A portrait by Manet, inspired by Hals, will also demonstrate how strongly Hals anticipated Impressionist effects.

Frans Hals in the Metropolitan Museum is organized by Walter Liedtke, Curator in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of European Paintings.

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 exhibition will be featured on the Museum's website at www.metmuseum.org.

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November 22, 2010

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