Frans Hals was born in 1580 or 1581, in Antwerp. Like many, Hals' family emigrated from the Spanish Netherlands to Haarlem In 1585-the year of the Fall of Antwerp-where he lived for the remainder of his life. Hals studied under another Flemish-émigré, Karel van Mander (1548-1606), whose Mannerist influence, however, is not noticeably visible in his work. Afterwards, at the age of 27, he became a member of the city's Guild of Saint Luke. The earliest known example of Hals' art is the 1611, Jacobus Zaffius. His 'breakthrough' came in 1616, with the life-size group portrait, The Banquet of the Officers of the St George Militia Company. Historians have erroneously reported that he mistreated his first wife, Anneke Hermansz (Annetje Harmensdochter Abeel), based on records that a Frans Hals was charged with spousal abuse in Haarlem in 1616. However, as Seymour Slive has pointed out, the Frans Hals in question was not the artist, but another Haarlem resident of the same name. Indeed, at the time of these charges, the artist had no wife to mistreat as Anneke had died earlier in 1616.
Jonker Ramp and his Sweetheart
Similarly, historical accounts of Hals' propensity for drink have been largely based on embellished anecdotes of his early biographers, namely Arnold Houbraken, with no direct evidence existing documenting such. In 1617, already with two children by Anneke, he married Lysbeth Reyniers in Spaarndam, a small village outside the Haarlem. They had eight children. Although Hals' work was in demand throughout his life, he experienced financial difficulties. In addition to painting, he worked as an art dealer and restorer. His creditors took him to court several times, and to settle his debt with a baker in 1652 he sold his belongings. The inventory of the property seized mentions only three mattresses and bolsters, an armoire, a table and five pictures. Left destitute, the municipality gave him an annuity of 200 forms in 1664. At a time when the Dutch nation fought for independence, Hals appeared in the ranks of the schutterij, a military guild. He was also a member of a local chamber of rhetoric, and in 1644 chairman of the Painters Corporation at Haarlem. Frans Hals died in Haarlem in 1666 and was buried in the city's St. Bavo Church. His widow later died obscurely in a hospital after seeking outdoor relief from the guardians of the poor.
Boy with a Skull
Boy Playing A Violin
Singing Boy with Flute
Company of Captain Reinier Reael known as the - Meagre Company
Detail of painting Officers and Sergeants of the St. Hadrian Civic Guard, painting by Frans Hals, c. 1633.
Banquet of the Officers of the St George Civic Guard
Family Group in a Landscape
Wedding portrait of Isaac Abrahamsz
The Meagre Company
Jester with a Lute
The Laughing Cavalier
Hals Pieter van der Broecke ca 1633, Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood
Portrait of Tieleman Roosterman
Frans Hals - Self-Portrait