Listening to Art, by William Denton.
Volume ten, number four: Portrait of a Man by Frans Hals.
Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.
In this issue we begin a series of three recordings of works by Dutch master Frans Hals, whom we heard in volume five numbers two, three and four and volume eight numbers one and two.
Hals was born in 1582 or 1583 and died in 1666. In 1648 the Dutch writer Theodorus Schrevelius wrote about Hals and his brother Dirck, who was also a painter. This quote was translated by art historian Christopher Atkins and is taken from his 2006 doctoral dissertation “The Master’s Touch: Frans Hals’s Rough Manner” (p. ii):
Nor can I let this pass in mute silence, Frans and Dirck Hals, brothers, of whom one excels almost everyone with the superb and uncommon manner of painting which is uniquely his. His paintings are imbued with such force and vitality that he seems to surpass nature herself with his brush. This is seen in all his portraits, so numerous as to pass belief, which are colored in such a way that they seem to breathe and live.
This portrait was done in 1665, the year before Hals died, when he was in his eighties. By 1873 it was in private hands in Vienna. In 1944 the Nazis put it, along with thousands of other works, in an abandoned salt mine near Linz, in northeast Austria, to protect them from bombing. The depot was taken by the U.S. Army in 1945. This work was restored to its owner, who donated it to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1948.
This is a painting, oil on canvas, 67 cm wide by 85.8 cm high.
Now let’s listen to Portrait of a Man by Frans Hals, recorded while on tour from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, on 13 September 2019.
That was Portrait of a Man by Frans Hals. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.
For more information and links to things I’ve mentioned, please visit listeningtoart.org.
Listening to Art is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
All web sites accessed as of date of publication.
Atkins, Christopher. “The Master’s Touch: Frans Hals’s Rough Manner.” PhD diss., Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, 2006. ProQuest (AAT 3240184).
Denton, William. “Frans Hals, Isaac Abrahamsz. Massa.” Listening to Art 05, no. 04 (01 July 2019). https://listeningtoart.org/05.04/.
⸻. “Frans Hals, Isaac Abrahamsz. Massa.” Listening to Art 08, no. 01 (13 November 2020). https://listeningtoart.org/08.01/.
⸻. “Frans Hals, Isaac Abrahamsz. Massa.” Listening to Art 08, no. 02 (01 December 2020). https://listeningtoart.org/08.02/.
⸻. “Frans Hals, The Laughing Cavalier.” Listening to Art 05, no. 03 (13 June 2019). https://listeningtoart.org/05.03/.
⸻. “Frans Hals, Portrait of a Seated Man.” Listening to Art 05, no. 02 (01 June 2019). https://listeningtoart.org/05.02/.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “Portrait of a Man.” Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. https://collections.mfa.org/objects/33984/portrait-of-a-man.
Wikipedia, s.v. “Frans Hals,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frans_Hals.
⸻, s.v. “Nazi storage sites for art during World War II,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_storage_sites_for_art_during_World_War_II.
⸻, s.v. “Theodorus Schrevelius,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodorus_Schrevelius.