Virtual Exhibition Talk: Frans Hals, Style, and Individuality

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Frans Hals developed a radical new approach to painting based on unblended brushwork and an emphasis on the appearance of spontaneity. This innovative style simultaneously crafted a distinctive artistic identity for Hals and vibrant, current portraits of his sitters. This talk will explore Hals’s style of painting and how it captured the imagination of Dutch clients who actively sought Hals to portray them. In the case of Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan, the client turned to Hals more than once to record his image at different moments in his life. The talk will also explore the Olycan family’s extensive patronage of Hals over the course of his career.

Dr. Christopher Atkins is the inaugural Van Otterloo-Weatherbie Director of the Center for Netherlandish Art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Prior to this appointment, he served as the Agnes and Jack Mulroney Associate Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is author of the book The Signature Style of Frans Hals: Painting, Subjectivity, and the Market in Early Modernity. Dr. Atkins holds a PhD and an MA from Rutgers University and a BA from the University of Kansas.

This program is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Frans Hals: Detecting a Decade

Image: Frans Hals, Portrait of Pieter Jacobsz. Olycan, 1629–30, oil on panel, Private Collection, by Courtesy of David Koetser Gallery, Zurich