Gerson Digital : Germany II


6.8 Admiration for Frans Hals

The 19th century discovered Frans Hals, whose style became imitated every now and then.1 His fresh technique and his brighter colours in comparison with Rembrandt made him loved, while his dark and melancholic late works could not be imitated. Men with floppy hats which earlier were lit and costumed in the way of Rembrandt, were now technically and quickly painted à la Frans Hals, e.g. by Eduard Magnus (1799-1872) [1-2].2

Of Adolph Menzel (1815-1905) we know, that he loved the Dutch masters and admired the ‘truly spirited and solid materialism’ of the French [3-4].3 The breezy, unconventional paintings of his early and middle period have a freshness that reminds us of the Haarlem School.

Eduard Magnus
Portrait of the author Paul Heyse (1830-1914, 1849
canvas, oil paint 58,5 x 49 cm
Neumeister (München) 2014-09-24, nr. 542

Eduard Magnus
Male head with beard
cardboard, oil paint 37 x 31,7 cm
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, inv./ SZ Magnus 7

Adolph Menzel
Bedroom of the artist Friedrich von Menzel in the Ritterstraße, Berlin, dated 1847
cardboard, oil paint 56 x 46 cm
lower right : A M 47
Berlin, Nationalgalerie (Berlijn), inv./ A I 860

Adolph Menzel
Study of a man's head, dated 1855
paper on linen, oil paint 60,7 x 48 cm
Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, inv./ 2774

Of the painters from Munich we principally have to mention Franz von Lenbach and Wilhelm Leibl. The old master style became second nature for Franz von Lenbach (1836-1904) [5]: he copied the art of Rubens [6-8] and Anthony van Dyck [9], as well as their lifestyle.4 Admittedly, Frans Hals doesn’t really fit in, but there are portraits of Dutch girls in his oeuvre that strive to emulate Frans Hals and Judith Leyster, both technically and stylistically [10].5

Franz von Lenbach
Self-portrait of Franz von Lenbach (1836-1904), date 1866
canvas, oil paint 47 x 38 cm
: 1866
Munich, Schackgalerie, inv./ 11454

Franz von Lenbach after Peter Paul Rubens
Self-Portrait of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
canvas, oil paint 86,2 x 63,7 cm
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 11441

Franz von Lenbach after Peter Paul Rubens
Portrait of Isabella Brandt
panel, oil paint 39 x 29 cm
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 11433

Franz von Lenbach after Peter Paul Rubens
Saint Cecilia playing the virginal
canvas, oil paint 177 x 140 cm
Hugo Helbing (München) 1931-07-10, nr. 68

Franz von Lenbach after school of Anthony van Dyck
Portrait of a woman playing the viola-da-gamba, 1866
canvas, oil paint 112,2 x 95,5 cm
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 11439

Franz von Lenbach
Portait of a Durch girl, dated 1898
hardboard, oil paint 76 x 60,5 cm
upper left : F Lenbach 1898.
Sotheby Parke Bernet (London (England)) 1983-06-22 - 1983-06-23, nr. 232

Wilhelm Leibl
Portrait of a boy with a large ruff
canvas, oil paint 75,8 x 61 cm
Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, inv./ Gm 1748

Wilhelm Leibl (1844-1900)6 was a great admirer of the Haarlem artist [11-13]. ’There never was a greater painter than Frans Hals and there never will be’, he writes from Holland.7 He never forgot the impression Frans Hals made on him, which is reflected in his paintings, although he did not imitate his technique. It is said of him that ‘Frans Hals had become the patron, whose protection he recommended for himself and his friends’.8

Wilhelm Leibl
Young Parisian woman, 1869 dated
panel, oil paint 64,5 x 52,5 cm
upper right : W. Leibl 1869
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum

Wilhelm Leibl
Portrait of a Lady in black, dated 1872
canvas, oil paint 124,7 x 88 cm
on the back : 208 / Leibl / Dame in Schwarz; Erste / Muenchener Vergolder-Genossenschaft.
Liberec, Regional Art Gallery in Liberec, inv./ O - 193

Eduard Gebhardt (1838-1925) [14-16],9 Johann Sperl (1840-1914)10 [17] and Fritz von Uhde (1848-1911)11 [18-20] were artists, who venerated the same ‘patron saint’.

Eduard Gebhardt
Wife of the artist
panel, oil paint 92 x 69,5 cm
lower left : E. v. Gebhardt
Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Neue Meister (Dresden), inv./ 8631

Eduard Gebhardt
Dutch Mother and Child, dated 1914
panel (mahogany), oil paint 54 x 45 cm
upper right : E.v. Gebhardt / 1914
Florian Seidel (Ahlden) 2011-05-14 - 2011-05-21, nr. 1373

Eduard Gebhardt
Portrait of the artist's wife dressed as a Dutch patrician woman, dated 1908
panel, oil paint 87 x 60 cm
upper right : E. v. Gebhardt 1908
Rudolf Bangel (Frankfurt am Main) 1927-05-17, nr. 23

Johann Sperl
Love letter, between 1882-1885
panel, oil paint 21,5 x 16 cm
lower right : Sperl
Frauenchiemsee, art dealer Gailer Fine Art Chiemsee

Fritz von Uhde
A singer in a cabaret, dated 1880
canvas, oil paint 136,8 x 200 cm
lower left : F.v.Uhde Paris 1880
Munich, Neue Pinakothek, inv./ 8520

Fritz von Uhde
The Family Concert, dated 1881
canvas, oil paint 187 x 253 cm
lower right : F. Uhde / 1881
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, inv./ WRM 1146

Fritz von Uhde
The Radish-woman, 1884 to be dated
canvas, oil paint 75 x 63,5 cm
Bremen, Kunsthalle Bremen, inv./ 332

Frans Hals (I)
Woman drinking, with an owl on her shoulder, first half 1630s
canvas, oil paint 75 x 64 cm
Berlin, Gemäldegalerie (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), inv./ 801C

In 1869 Frans Hals’s Malle Babbe from the Suermondt Collection was being exhibited in Munich and the artistic world was thrilled. Gustave Courbet, who was there just at that time, gave expression to his admiration in a copy [21-22].12

When Max Liebermann (1847-1935) came to Holland some years later (1873), Frans Hals became his guide ‘… to impressionistic freedom and liveliness. Of all the old masters, he was closest to his temperament’ [23-27].13 Liebermann's repeated journeys fortified the ties of friendship to the old and the living masters of Holland. 14 Thus, in conclusion, we are happy to see, that Dutch painting of the 17th century occasionally awakened artistic powers in a younger generation, without degenerating into a tasteless and impersonal imitation.

Gustave Courbet after Frans Hals (I)
Woman drinking, with an owl on her shoulder, 1869 (dated)
canvas, oil paint 85 x 71 cm
lower left : 69 G. Courbet
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, inv./ 2262

Max Liebermann after Frans Hals (I)
Young woman, 1873-1874
panel, oil paint 53 x 47 cm
Private collection

Max Liebermann
Portrait of Mayor of Hamburg Carl Friedtich Petersen (1809-1892), 1891
canvas, oil paint 206 x 119 cm
lower right : M. Liebermann
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, inv./ 1696

Max Liebermann free after Frans Hals (I)
Portrait of the Sanitätsrat Dr. Sachs (1811-1883), 1878
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
lower left : M. Liebermann
Whereabouts unknown

Max Liebermann
Brother and sister, 1873
panel, oil paint 63 x 48,5 cm
upper left : M. Lieberman
Private collection

Max Liebermann after Frans Hals (I)
Study of a hand of one of the officers of the Civic Guard, in the Summer of 1876
canvas, oil paint 26,6 x 32 cm
lower right : MLiebermann
Private collection


1 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On the rediscovery of Frans Hals, Jowell 1989. On the Frans Hals fashion in Munich: Kraan 2002, p. 151-160.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Magnus: Gläser 1963.

3 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Menzel: Keisch 1996-1997. Also Menzel visited the Netherlands 1876. On his trip and his interest in Dutch art: Häder 1999, esp. p. 109-111 and 270.

4 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Lenbach's house in Munich was clearly inspired by the Rubens House in Antwerp. On Lenbach’s copies after Rubens and Van Dyck: Lenz 1997, p. 337-343. Between 1858 and 1870 Lenbach made small sketches after reproductive prints of works by Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck and others (Munich, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus). Mehl 1980-1981, p. 89-98, Ranke et al. 1986-1987, p. 191-194.

5 [Gerson 1942/1983] New York, Metropolitan Museum. Lenbach’s Self-Portrait of 1866 in the Schack Gallery is rather in the style of Rembrandt. [Van Leeuwen 2018] The painting was sold at some point by the Metropolitan Museum. It was in Canada in 1974 (Frederick Thom Gallery), in 1977 in London (Cooling Galleries) and auctioned in London (Sotheby’s), 22 June 1983, no. 232.RKDimages 291751 is also painted in the manner of the late Rembrandt.

6 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Leibl: Czymmek/Lenz et al. 1994, Holsing et al. 2013.

7 [Van Leeuwen 2018] About this quote: Häder 1999, p. 40-41. Leibl visited the Frans Hals Museum on September 14th, 1898. On his stay in Holland and his connection with Dutch art: Häder 1999, esp. p. 37-41, 265-266. Leibl also copied Rubens (RKDimages 291866).

8 [Gerson 1942/1983] Oldenbourg/Uhde-Bernays 1922, p. 134.

9 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Gebhardt was in Holland c. 1858 and returned in 1904 to visit the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem (Häder 1999, p. 254). On Gebhardt: Gries 1995.

10 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Sperl: Diem 1955; Moritz 1995.

11 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Von Uhde was in Holland in 1882 and visited the Frans Hals Museum in September 25th and 29th (Häder 1999, p. 65-72, 286). On Von Uhde: Hansen et al. 1998-1999; Vogel et al. 2013.

12 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Hofman/Herding 1978, p. 305-306, no. 289.

13 [Gerson 1942/1983] Weisbach 1910, vol. 2, p. 264. [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Liebermann’s oeuvre: Eberle 1995-1996. On Liebermann and Rembrandt: Stückelberger 1996, p. 67-103. On Liebermann’s copies after Frans Hals: Eberle 1995-1996, no. 1873/16 and 1876/6-1876/24. Several works by Liebermann related to his facination of Frans Hals are on show in the exhibition Frans Hals and the Moderns, Frans Halsmuseum Haarlem, 13 October 2018 - 24 February 2019.

14 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Liebermann's stays in Holland and his connection to Dutch (old and contemporary) masters: Häder 1999, p. 127-134, 266-267. On his relations with Dutch contemporary masters: Heij/Van der Linden-Beins et al. 2006-2007.

Cookies disclaimer

Our site saves small pieces of text information (cookies) on your device in order to deliver better content and for statistical purposes. You can disable the usage of cookies by changing the settings of your browser. By browsing our website without changing the browser settings you grant us permission to store that information on your device.
I agree