The Signature Style of Frans Hals

Painting, Subjectivity, and the Market in Early Modernity

Christopher D. M. Atkins

The Signature Style of Frans Hals

Christopher D. M. Atkins

Distributed for Amsterdam University Press

324 pages | 129 color plates | 7 1/2 x 10 | © 2012
Paper $63.50 ISBN: 9789089643353 Published June 2012 For sale only in the United States, its dependencies, the Philippines, and Canada

The painters of the Dutch Golden Age have a reputation for favoring a dark, serious aesthetic and subdued, everyday scenes over the bravado of their Catholic counterparts. But in fact, Dutch paintings of this period often contain witty visual puns and a fierce vibrancy in their choice of color and subjects. No one more exemplifies this lushness and vividness more than Frans Hals.
This richly illustrated volume considers Hals’s lively brush strokes and distinctive handling of paint within the context of Dutch Golden Age painting as a whole, and itprovides powerful insight into his influence during his own time and for generations afterward. Christopher D. M. Atkins looks at the world in which Hals lived, mining the Dutch economy, as well as Hals’s relationships with clients, pupils, and assistants, in order to gain a fuller grasp of the evolution of Hals’s instantly recognizable style. A thoughtful study of the commercial and artistic concerns that shaped Hals’s work, this book reflects on ideas of authorship, consumption, and subjectivity in early modern Europe. Combining smart historical analysis and a deep understanding of Dutch consumer culture with a strong sense of Hals as an artist, The Signature Style of Frans Hals offers a wholly new understanding of both the painter and his world.
With discussions of two of Hals’s most famous paintings, The Laughing Cavalier and The Gypsy Girl, this book is required reading for scholars of economic history, art historians, and anyone interested in gaining a deeper insight into life and times of this Dutch master.


    Painting and Style
    The Market
    Early Modernity
Chapter 1: A Liveliness Uniquely His
    Lively Painting/Painting Liveliness
    A Lively Method
    A Distinctive Approach
Chapter 2: Virtuosity
    Virtuoso Brushwork
    The Self-Aware Virtuoso?
Chapter 3: Painting for the Market
    A Process Innovation?
    Flemish Inspiration
   A Signature Style
Chapter 4: The Hals Brand
    Hals’s Workshop
    The Activities and Products of the Workshop
    Market Identity and the House Brand
Chapter 5: Modernity
    Initial Constructions
    The Nineteenth-Century Revival
    The Modern Tradition
    “Fated Always to Look Modern”

List of Illustrations
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