Frans Hals "Baroque Portrait"
Frans Hals "Baroque Portrait"
Limited Edition: 26
Exhibition: Great Art at LACMA
Material: Printed 2-ply vinyl
Dimensions: 35" x 96" (88cm x 243cm)
Hanging Hardware Included
Flemish painter Frans Hals is one of the great Old Masters of Dutch Baroque portraiture. His "Portrait of a Man" c. 1636 is among his most acclaimed works. The portrait has all of the elements that make Hals such a master of portraiture. The play of heavy and light brushstrokes, the use of light, and the rare skill to make the subject seem a vibrant and living presence captured in one brief moment. Pick up one of the 26 banners featuring a close up detail of this portrait.
In the Netherlands of the 17th century, artists who wished to make a living often turned to group portraiture. Such was the case with Frans Hals, who earned his livelihood by painting group portraits of prominent guilds, civic guards, and business groups of his day. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he conferred a certain lifelike energy to these otherwise dull subjects. This, combined with his carefully rendered likenesses and masterful skill as a painter made him popular with this audience, and ensured numerous lucrative commissions during his lifetime.
However, his true talent and passion are seen in his individual portraits and genre paintings. Unfortunately, such works brought him little money, and despite his commissions for larger works, he led a precarious existence. The uniqueness of Hals’s portraits in comparison to other great portraitists before him is based on his ability to “capture” his sitters, as if by chance. In fact, his portraits were carefully planned and laid out. It is difficult today to understand how unconventional and surprising Hals’s works looked to his contemporaries. He seemed to catch a fleeting moment, just as a photograph would, but well before the advent of photography.
This banner features a detail of Hals’s Portrait of a Man c. 1636 in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Shown at this scale, the image takes on a fresh, modern dimension in keeping with Hals’s own fresh, modern treatment of the subject. The man’s warm, brown eyes gaze at the viewer, and his lips are slightly parted as if he is about to speak. The bristly hair of his moustache and eyebrows lend motion and energy to the work.
Below the image is a burnt orange band with white text that simply reads “Great Art”. The banner was designed to span a street lamp post, so hanging two banners side-by-side would create a large, complete image. The other side of the banner completes the image, showing a continuation of the front image. This is framed in a burnt orange band with the museum’s website in white letters “www.lacma.org”.
These banners were displayed around Los Angeles to promote “Great Art” in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Other banners in the series feature works by John Singer Sargent, Amedeo Modigliani, and Hashiguchi Goyo.