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Portrait of a man

Frans Hals

Circa 1660, oil on canvas, 69 x 60 cm

Why is this work so important? 

In this painting executed at the age of eighty, the artist demonstrated his pioneering spirit, introducing innovations that resemble those of the modern era. Two centuries later, his daring techniques fascinated avant-garde painters such as Edouard Manet.

Wall in front when entering
The Library

This portrait by Frans Hals represents an anonymous individual, whose identity and social status remain complete mysteries. The title is an eloquent reflection of the artist’s brilliant rendition. In this portrait of a man, one is struck by the fragmented brushstrokes, which appear to be quite perfunctory and almost impressionistic: rapidly executed and intermittently rendered, the forms are blurred by a veritable symphony of brushstrokes. The palette is relatively limited: browns, silver-greys, and several dashes of white. The man is turned towards the artist; this posture is a common feature in Frans Hals’s portraits.

Did you know?

Nélie Jacquemart acquired this portrait in 1912, shortly before her death. By adding works to her dead husband’s collections, she was respecting his wishes and his desire to enrich the collections that he had established.