In autumn 2021, The Wallace Collection will celebrate Frans Hals’s (1582/3-1666) most famous and beloved painting, The Laughing Cavalier, painted in 1624. Since it entered the Wallace Collection in 1865 as the only work by Hals, this iconic image has never been seen together with other works by the artist, and will form the centrepiece of the exhibition.
In the first ever show to focus solely on Hals’s portraits of men posing on their own, The Laughing Cavalier will be showcased alongside other great male portraits by Hals in order to explore his highly innovative approach to male portraiture in particular, from the beginning of his career in the 1610s until the end of his life in 1666.
This exhibition will bring together a careful selection of the artist’s best male portraits from Europe and North America. In doing so, the show will aim to demonstrate how, through pose and virtuosic painterly technique, Hals completely revolutionized the male portrait into something entirely new and fresh, capturing and revealing his sitters’ characters like no one else before him. It will also showcase the evolution of Hals’s style, which is especially evident in his male portraits, from finely painted works to those demonstrating increasingly free and loose handling in his later years.