Family Portraits

Frans Hals (1582/83-1666) is one of the greatest portrait painters of the Dutch Golden Age and, along with Rembrandt, responsible for revolutionising the genre. The artist is mostly famous for his individual portraits and his large compositions representing militia members, and his family portraits are not particularly well-known. Only four of them survive today, all included in the exhibition.

The exhibition was prompted by the acquisition by the Toledo Museum of Art in 2011 of Frans Hals’s Van Campen Family in a Landscape, as well as the recent conservation of Children of the Van Campen Family with a Goat Cart (now in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium). These two works originally formed one composition, separated for unknown reasons likely in the early 19th century. The restoration work undertaken in Brussels also confirmed that a Head of a Young Boy, currently in a private collection in Europe, was also a fragment of the scattered painting. For the first time in two hundred years, the three surviving sections of the monumental family portrait, which must at the outset have measured nearly 3.80 metres long, are presented side by side on the occasion of this unique exhibition.

Frans Hals’s family portraits display a hitherto unprecedented degree of relaxation, demonstrating the intimacy of relations between parents and their children. The children interact joyfully amongst themselves. Smiles and laughter were Hals’s trademark; the artist’s genius is also illustrated in the other paintings in the exhibition: Family Group in a Landscape from the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid), the Dutch Family from the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Family Group in a Landscape from the National Gallery, London.

8 June to 25 August 2019


121 rue De Lille 75007 Paris

01 47 05 75 19