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HALS Frans (b. 1580, Antwerpen, d. 1666, Haarlem) Nationality : Dutch

Frans Hals was the great 17th-century portraitist of the Dutch bourgeoisie of Haarlem, where he spent practically all his life. Hals evolved a technique that was close to impressionism in its looseness, and he painted with increasing freedom as he grew older. The jovial spirit of his early work is typified by the Shrovetide Revellers (Merry Company, c. 1615; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). In middle age his portraits grew increasingly sad, revealing sometimes a sense of foreboding (e.g., Nicolaes Hasselaer, 1630-33; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). The paintings of his old age show best his genius for portraying character (e.g., Man in a Slouch Hat, 1660-66; Staatliche Museen, Kassel).

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