The Man in the slouch hat by Frans Hals is one of the most famous masterpieces in the Picture Gallery. Before the painting travels to London and Amsterdam for the major Frans Hals exhibition starting this fall, Hessen Kassel Heritage is devoting a special presentation to it at Wilhelmshöhe Palace. The famous portrait is joined by other works as a temporary intervention in the permanent exhibition. A particular highlight will be a new interpretation of the Old Master by the artist Sławomir Elsner, which was acquired with the generous support of the Kasseler Museumsverein and the Gerhard Fieseler Foundation. The Museum Association also financed the accompanying book dealing with the work of Frans Hals, Lovis Corinth and Sławomir Elsner.
As early as 1661, the Flemish scholar Cornelis de Bie wrote about Frans Hals: “What appears to have been hastily and boldly thrown is in reality grasped with dexterity and well composed, pleasing and witty. When looking at the pictures from a distance, they seem to be missing nothing more than life itself.” The sketchy, casual style of painting was always inspiring. And almost 250 years later, Lovis Corinth confessed during his visit: “Frans Hals painted just like me. […] I do not need to pretend at all.” The result was a creative copy based on the painting, which – despite all the differences – reveals the kinship of the two artists. Both works can be seen together for the first time in Wilhelmshöhe Palace. There is also an etching by William Unger and an early photograph by Franz Hanfstaengl, which reproduce the painting by Frans Hals in different ways. The cabinet exhibition in the Frans-Hals-Saal is supplemented by a modern paraphrase by Sławomir Elsner, who studied at the Kunsthochschule Kassel and now lives and works in Berlin. In the elaborate colored pencil drawing, Hals’ painting seems to literally dissolve. It also proves: Frans Hals still inspires today.