Dutch painter born in Antwerp, the son of Flemish parents who moved to Holland after the city fell to the Spaniards in 1585. His parents had settled in Haarlem by 1591 and he spent his long life there. Frans Hals was twice married, had at least ten children, and was constantly in financial trouble. Houbraken says he was `filled to the girls every evening', but there is no real foundation for the popular image of him as a drunken wife-beater. His second wife, however, was more than once in trouble for brawling. During his last years he was destitute and the municipal authorities of Haarlem awarded him a small annual stipend four years before his death.
Frans Hals was the first great artist of the 17th-century Dutch school and is regarded as one of the most brilliant of all portraitists. Almost all his artworks are portraits and even those that are not are portrait-like in character.
Hals taught numerous pupils, including Jan Miense Molenaer, Adriaen van Ostade, Adriaen Brouwer, and Philips Wouwerman.
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