The exhibition is the first to explore Hals’s innovations in relation to work by his famous predecessors and contemporaries and see what they had in common and what made him unique. The exhibition is grouped in themes, which examine work by famous predecessors such as Titian, seventeenth-century ideas about style and the challenge of surpassing other artists. Visitors can compare work by masters like Van Dyck, Rubens and Hals. There is also a selection of genre works, contrasting Hals’s masterly brushwork and the expressions of his laughing figures with similar half-length figures by Van Baburen, Jordaens and Van Dyck. Hals’s late portraits of regents engage in a dialogue with late portraits by Rembrandt, the only other seventeenth-century master who dared to paint with such bravura.
A full-color catalogue accompanies the exhibition. It includes essays by Anna Tummers (curator of Old Masters at the Frans Hals Museum, who is putting the exhibition together), Christopher Atkins (university lecturer at Queens College, New York, and author of the book The Signature Style of Frans Hals) and Karolien de Clippel (lecturer at the University of Utrecht and leader of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research project into the relationship between the Haarlem and Antwerp styles).
Frans Hals Museum Website