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22/09/2021 - 30/01/2022

C16th - Painting


Frans Hals - The Male Portrait

In autumn 2021, The Wallace Collection will celebrate Hals’s most famous and beloved, yet still enigmatic, painting The Laughing Cavalier (1624).

The historic purchase of The Laughing Cavalier in 1865 by the 4th Marquess of Hertford, the Wallace Collection’s principal founder, was instrumental in the revival of Frans Hals during the 19th century. Prior to this, Hals had been lost to obscurity. At a sale in Paris, Lord Hertford sensationally outbid Baron James de Rothschild, paying the astronomical sum of 51,000 francs for the picture (more than six times the estimate). The publicity around the sale led to the immediate fame of the painting and of Hals, causing prices of his works to soar.

This iconic image has never been seen together with other works by the artist and will form the centrepiece of Frans Hals: The Male Portrait - the first ever show to focus solely on Hals’s portraits of men posing on their own – placing The Laughing Cavalier within the broader context of Hals’s depictions of male sitters.

The exhibition will bring together over a dozen of the artist’s best male portraits from collections across the UK, Europe, and North America, making this the first major international loan exhibition at the Wallace Collection.



Marylebone Hertford House, Manchester Sq, W1U 3BN