NEW YORK, NY.- 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 Museumon view from July 26, through October 10, 2011presents 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 evocation of the Golden Age of Dutch art. 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 focuses 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 Yonker 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 are two loans from private collections in New Yorkthe small, exquisite Portrait of Samuel Ampzing (1630), on copper, and the well-known The Fisher Girl (1630-32). A selection of other Netherlandish paintings from the Museum's collection by artists including Rubens, Van Dyck, Steen, and Brouwer set Hals's work in the context of his native Haarlem and help clarify how exceptional his animated poses and virtuoso brushwork were at the time.
Frans Hals in the Metropolitan Museum is organized by Walter Liedtke, Curator in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of European Paintings.