Family Portraits

Frans Hals

from 8 June to 25 August 2019

Open every day except Monday, from 12 to 6 pm


Frans Hals (1582/83-1666) is one of the greatest portrait painters of the Dutch Golden Age and, along with Rembrandt, responsible for revolutionising the genre. The artist is mostly famous for his individual portraits and his large compositions representing militia members, and his family portraits are not particularly well-known. Only four of them survive today, all included in the exhibition.


Frans Hals, The Van Campen Family in a Landscape (fragment), ca. 1623-1625
Oil on canvas. – 151 × 163,6 cm
Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo (Ohio), inv. 2011.80

The exhibition was prompted by the acquisition by the Toledo Museum of Art in 2011 of Frans Hals’s Van Campen Family in a Landscape, as well as the recent conservation of Children of the Van Campen Family with a Goat Cart (now in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium). These two works originally formed one composition, separated for unknown reasons likely in the early 19th century. The restoration work undertaken in Brussels also confirmed that a Head of a Young Boy, currently in a private collection in Europe, was also a fragment of the scattered painting. For the first time in two hundred years, the three surviving sections of the monumental family portrait, which must at the outset have measured nearly 3.80 metres long, are presented side by side on the occasion of this unique exhibition.

Frans Hals, Children of the Van Campen Family with a Goat Cart (fragment), ca. 1623-1625
Oil on canvas. – 152 × 107,5 cm
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, inv. 4732

Frans Hals’s family portraits display a hitherto unprecedented degree of relaxation, demonstrating the intimacy of relations between parents and their children. The children interact joyfully amongst themselves. Smiles and laughter were Hals’s trademark; the artist’s genius is also illustrated in the other paintings in the exhibition: Family Group in a Landscape from the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza (Madrid), the Dutch Family from the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Family Group in a Landscape from the National Gallery, London.

Echoing Frans Hals’s paintings, the Fondation Custodia presents a selection of preparatory drawings for family portraits, executed by seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish artists. Although no drawings by Hals himself are known, these works throw light on the artistic challenges which confronted portrait painters when they had to represent a family group. These sheets form a transition to the second exhibition, Children of the Golden Age. Works from the Fondation Custodia.

The Life and Career of Frans Hals

Frans Hals was probably born in Antwerp in 1582 or 1583. While he was still a child, his family fled the disturbances in Flanders and set up house in Haarlem, in the young and prosperous Republic of the Netherlands. In 1610, he became a member of the Guild of St Luke in Haarlem and opened his own studio. He had three children from his first marriage and eleven from the second: four of his children became painters themselves. Hals’s career spanned most of the Dutch Golden Age as he died in 1666, at the ripe old age of 84, a very long life for the seventeenth century.

Family Group in a Landscape, ca. 1645-1648
Oil on canvas. – 202 × 285 cm
Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, inv. 1934.8

We know of more than 220 works by Frans Hals. He painted mainly individual portraits, some of them (husband and wife for example) as pendants, but he is also one of the greatest exponents of the typically Dutch genre of group portraits. Thirteen of these monumental paintings survive, eight of them now in the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem. The painter revolutionised the genre, giving it the dynamism and freshness which earlier, often stuffy, official portraits lacked. Among Hals’s thirteen group portraits, his four family portraits are here presented together for the first time.


The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue (in English, French and Dutch) by Lawrence W. Nichols, Liesbeth De Belie and Pieter Biesboer.

Frans Hals Portraits. A Family Reunion
Hirmer Verlag, 2018
112 pp., 25,7 × 21,7 cm, hard cover
ISBN 978 3 7774 3007 2
29,95 €

To order this book, please fill out the form below. You will receive an invoice by e-mail, including package and postage fees. Payments can be made by bank transfer.

The information supplied by you through this form is collected by the Fondation Custodia in order to process your order. In accordance with the law Informatique et Libertés of 6 January 1978, modified, and with the Règlement Général sur la Protection des Données, you have the legal right to access your data, to rectify them, to restrict them, to transfer them or to suppress them. In order to exercise these rights, you can contact the Fondation Custodia, 121 rue de Lille, 75007 Paris, +33 (0)1 47 05 75 19, To find out more about our Privacy Policy.


Practical Information


Fondation Custodia / Collection Frits Lugt
121, rue de Lille - 75007 Paris
Tel: +33 (0)1 47 05 75 19

Access by public transport

Metro: Assemblée Nationale (line 12) or Invalides (lines 8 and 13)
RER C: Invalides or Musée d’Orsay
Bus: lines 63, 73, 83, 84, 94, Assemblée Nationale
Vélib’: station opposite (n° 7009)

Opening hours

Every day except Monday, from 12 to 6 pm

Admission charges

Admission charges 10 € (full) / 7 € (reduced)
The reduced rate is available to seniors (over 60), unemployed people, groups of at least 10 people

Free admission: students, press card, ICOM card, disabled person’s card

No online reservations


Possibility to visit the exhibitions Frans Hals. Family Portraits and Children of the Golden Age with a conference guide on the following dates (in French): Saturday 22 June at 12.30 pm, Friday 28 June at 12.30 pm, Saturday 6 July at 12.30 pm, Thursday 11 July at 12.30 pm, Tuesday 16 July at 12.30 pm.
Admission: price of the exhibition ticket
Reservation required:

The exhibition Frans Hals. Family Portraits is co-organised by the Toledo Museum of Art (Ohio), the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels and the Fondation Custodia in Paris.

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