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Frans Hals: The Male Portrait

22 September 2021 to 30 January 2022 London

Frans Hals (c.1582/3–1666) is one of the greatest masters of the Dutch Golden Age, praised by his contemporaries for his capacity to paint lifelike portraits that seem ‘to live and breathe’. In autumn 2021, The Wallace Collection will celebrate Hals’s most famous and beloved, yet still enigmatic, painting The Laughing Cavalier (1624).

“The historic purchase of The Laughing Cavalier in 1865 by the 4th Marquess of Hertford (1800– 1870), the Wallace Collection’s principal founder, was instrumental in the revival of Frans Hals during the 19th century. Prior to this, Hals had been lost to obscurity. At a sale in Paris, Lord Hertford sensationally outbid Baron James de Rothschild (1792–1868) paying the astronomical sum of 51,000 francs for the picture (more than six times the estimate). The publicity around the sale led to the immediate fame of the painting and of Hals, causing prices of his works to soar.”

The exhibition will bring together over a dozen of the artist’s best male portraits from collections across the UK, Europe, and North America, making this the first major international loan exhibition at the Wallace Collection.

Exhibition Curator, Dr Lelia Packer adds, “This exhibition gives us an opportunity to marvel at Hals’s technical virtuosity and explore the notion of manhood in 17th-century Holland, and the ‘male gaze’ when it is turned on men. As well as addressing notions of gender and masculinity, the exhibition also focuses on individuals and their self-presentation. We have assembled a fantastic group of proud and determined figures, each of whom vie for our attention and communicate their stories through their very deliberate portrayals.”

Tickets are £14 and can be purchased on the day of your visit, subject to availability. The Wallace Collection is open daily, 10.00-17.00, 22nd Sep 2021 – 30th Jan 2022.