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Dirck Hals

Painter and genre painter

Born
1591 in Haarlem
Died
1656 in Haarlem

2 Works by Dirck Hals

Biography

On 19 March 1591, Dirck Hals was baptised in Haarlem, a son of the weaver Franchois Fransz. Hals from Mecheln and his second wife, Adriana (Adriaentje) van Geertenryck (or Geestenryck) from Antwerp. This event attests to the family's emigration from Antwerp after its occupation by Spanish Habsburg troops in 1585. The young man's apprenticeship is undocumented, but it is likely that he received instruction in painting from his older brother, Frans Hals, who had been a member of Haarlem's Guild of St Luke since 1610. Although by 1619 he was already dating his works, Dirck Hals was inducted into the guild only in 1627. A laudatory mention in the new edition of Samuel Ampzing's paean to the city of Haarlem from 1628 indicates that at that time he enjoyed a reputation comparable to that of his well-known brother. Before becoming independent, Dirck had worked for other artists, as a 1624 lawsuit regarding unpaid wages attests. Between 21 February 1617 and 18 October 1639, the painter is documented in his home town of Haarlem. During this time, he actively participated in public life: together with his brother Frans he served in the St George Militia from 1618 to 1624, and from 1618 to 1623 he was a member of the rhetorical society 'De Wijngaardranken'. Around 1620 or 1621 he married Agneta (Agniesje) Jansdr., and with her had seven children, of whom Anthonie (1621-1691) also became a painter. In addition to his activity as a painter, Dirck Hals had a secondary income from two lotteries that he organised with paintings. Even so, documents from the years 1641 to 1643 and 1648, which attest to a probable extended presence of the artist in Leiden, tell of his debts. Afterwards, Dirck Hals likely returned to Haarlem, where on 17 May 1656 he was buried in the Begijnhofkerk. He specialised in genre scenes set both in interiors and out of doors. They show influences from the painters Esaias van de Velde and Willem Buytewech, who were active in Haarlem from 1612 to 1617 or 1618. The style of his brother Frans, who mainly concentrated on portrait painting, is apparent only in the informal brush work of the oil sketches he produced in the period from 1616 or 1618 to 1629. A few of his genre scenes were engraved by Cornelis Kittensteyn, Jacob Matham, and others. In the late 1620s, Dirck Hals worked with Kirck van Delen, furnishing his paintings of architecture with figural staffage.

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