2024: Frans Hals Exhibition in Berlin (Gemäldegalerie)

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by Henk Bekker

in Berlin, Germany, N24

Buy tickets online for the special Frans Hals exhibition of around 70 paintings in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin from July to November 2024. Similar exhibitions are in London in 2023 and Amsterdam in early 2024.

Malle Babbe (detail) on display in the Frans Hals Exhibition in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and Gemäldegalerie Berlin in 2024

Three major exhibitions in 2023 and 2024 present the 17th-century Dutch painter Frans Hals to visitors in London, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Around 50 paintings by Frans Hals — a quarter of his known surviving oeuvre — will be on display in each exhibition with further works shown to demonstrate his influence on later painters, especially the impressionists. Tickets for the Frans Hals exhibition in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin are likely to be the cheapest and time slots the easiest to obtain compared to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the National Gallery in London.

Frans Hals Exhibition in Berlin in 2024

Frans Hals, Singender Knabe mit Flöte
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt

In the second half of 2024, the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin will honor Frans Hals with a major solo exhibition of around 70 works. The exhibition includes around 50 of the 200 known paintings by Hals, further paintings that influenced him, as well as later works by especially impressionists that were inspired by Hals’ techniques.

Frans Hals is ranked together with Vermeer and Rembrandt as the outstanding Dutch painters of the 17th century. In addition to unconventional, expressive portraits, he was the first artist in Holland to paint social outsiders as individuals in portrait format.

The rediscovery of the Haarlem painter in the 19th century shaped the development of modern painting like no other artist of the early modern period. In cooperation with the National Gallery, London, and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the picture gallery is organizing a comprehensive monographic exhibition with around 70 works.

Frans Hals

Frans Hals, Peeckelhaering (Der lustige Zecher)
© Museum der bildenden Künste | PUNCTUM B. Kober

The Dutch painter Frans Hals (1582/83–1666) is one of the most important portraitists ever. In addition to large-format civil militia and regent groups, he created numerous individual portraits of the Dutch bourgeoisie in Haarlem, where he spent almost his entire life. However, Hals also painted genre figures such as singers, showmen, or fishermen’s children, as close-up half-length figures. These works demonstrate unusually great liveliness and apt characterization.

The unparalleled free style of painting that Hals used for his portraits made him the most modern artist of his time. Instead of conventional poses, he captured the fleeting moment of movement or expression. His masterly, illusionistic style of painting made subjects appear alive, open, and approachable. Hals devoted himself to individual idiosyncrasies impartially, with curiosity, wit, and sympathy. Laughing or smiling is a key element: Hals realistically portrayed laughing figures in an unsurpassed way.

Frans Hals painted social outsiders just as devotedly as he did the bourgeois upper class of the Dutch Republic. In addition, he produced extraordinarily innovative genre paintings and life-size character studies: With them, he helped marginalized groups of society, who found no place in contemporary portraiture, to gain unprecedented visibility.

Frans Hals and the Impressionists

Frans Hals, The Lute Player on display in the Frans Hals Exhibition in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 2024
Frans Hals, The Lute Player © RMN-Grand Palais (Musée du Louvre) / Franck Raux

The sketch-like paintings Frans Hals executed with loose, bold brushstrokes, his loose, virtuosic application of paint, and the spontaneity and immediacy of his depictions, influenced painting at the end of the 19th century after French art critic and journalist Théophile Thoré-Bürger (1807–1869) rediscovered his work.

The expressive, gestural brushwork has always been seen as the most distinctive quality of his art, and he can justifiably be described as the forerunner of Impressionism. Hals’s virtuosic style influenced artists such as Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, James McNeil Whistler, Claude Monet, Max Liebermann, Vincent van Gogh, John Singer Sargent, and others. Almost all of them visited Haarlem to admire his portraits of individuals and civil militia groups, which are still on display in the Frans Hals Museum near Amsterdam.

The Berlin exhibition will show additional works from the Gemäldegalerie’s vast collection by artists such as Max Liebermann, Wilhelm Leibl, and Lovis Corinth, who considered Hals as a great role model. The exhibition will therefore not only focus on Hals’ extraordinary artistic works but also on his far-reaching impact on the development of European painting.

Frans Hals in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin

Frans Hals, Junger Mann mit Totenkopf (Vanitas)
© The National Gallery, London

With ten works, the Berlin Gemäldegalerie (Picture Gallery) has one of the most extensive and top-class collections of paintings by Frans Hals in the world. Berlin highlights such as “Malle Babbe“, the “Portrait of Catharina Hooft with her Nurse” or the “Singing Boy with Flute” will be on display in the special exhibition and travel to London and Amsterdam from September 2023 to mid-2024.

In addition to a high-quality selection of paintings by Hals, the special exhibition in Berlin also shows works from his environment and thus locates him as an exceptional phenomenon in the context of his time.

The 70 works include around 50 of the most important paintings by Frans Hals from over 20 public and private collections in Europe, the USA, and Canada — including highlights such as “Isaac Abrahamsz. Massa and Beatrix van der Laen” from the Rijksmuseum, the “Young Man with a Skull” from the National Gallery in London or “The Lute Player” from the Musée du Louvre in Paris. Works will also be presented that have never been seen in Germany before, such as the monumental rifleman’s piece “De magere compagnie“, which is over four meters wide.

Gemäldegalerie Berlin Visitors Information

The Frans Hals Exhibition will be in the special exhibition halls in the center of the Gemäldegalerie — tickets will therefore cover admission to the permanent exhibition too that may be seen before and/or after visiting the Frans Hals rooms. Time-slot reservations are likely for the special exhibition and the stated times on tickets are for entry into the Frans Hals rooms, which are almost directly at the main gallery entrance.

Frans Hals Exhibition Berlin 2024 Tickets

Frans Hals, Porträt eines Paares
© Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Final arrangements for tickets for the Frans Hals exhibition have not been announced yet. Expect a small surcharge on regular admission tickets. Special exhibitions are often included in any museum passes and Kulturofurm day tickets but free time-slot reservations might be necessary at busy times. The surcharge is likely to be far cheaper and ticket availability far easier than for the same Frans Hals exhibition in London or Amsterdam

Ticket prices for the Gemäldegalerie are currently €12. Buy tickets online in advance — skip the ticket counter queue (but do pick up the free audio guide) and proceed directly to the museum entrance. The Kulturforum-Ticket gives admission to all museums at the Kulturforum for €18 per calendar day.

Admission is free for those under 18 years and bearers of the superb value 3-day Museum Pass Berlin. Admission to most Berlin museums are free on the first Sunday of the month — free online tickets are often needed.

Opening Hours of the Gemäldegalerie

The Gemäldegalerie is at the heart of the Kulturforum in central Berlin. 

The Gemäldegalerie in Berlin is open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 18:00 and Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 18:00. The gallery is again open until 20:00 on Thursdays.

Time-slot reservations for the main museum are only enforced in busy periods but are generally a good idea when available.

Transportation to the Gemäldegalerie

Frans Hals, Malle Babbe on display in the Frans Hals Exhibition in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 2024
Frans Hals, Malle Babbe © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie / Christoph Schmidt

The Gemäldegalerie is at the heart of the Kulturforum near the Sony Center and Potsdamer Platz to the south of Tiergarten in central Berlin. 

The closest bus stop is Philharmonie / Philharmonie-Süd (buses 200, 300, M41) while Kulturforum (buses M48 & M85) and Potsdamer Brücke (M29) are also convenient on major bus lines. The closest U-Bahn and S-Banh station is Potsdamer Platz — from here take any of the buses listed above, or simply walk.

The main Kulturforum building was only completed in 1998. The area is a bit drab and grey on the outside but a great space for exhibiting art (in contrast to the nearby Neue Nationalgalerie designed by Mies van der Rohe). The construction on the site between the Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, and the Philharmonie is for a new modern art museum for 20th-century art.

→  See also: Highlights in the Gemäldegalerie and the Italian Collections in the Paintings Gallery for some of the most popular works in the museum.

Gemäldegalerie: 200 Masterpieces of European Painting is a beautiful book on the permanent collection (but heavy and pricy) — much of the information in the book is available for free when searching the online catalog of the Gemäldegalerie.

More on the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin):

Note new opening times for many Berlin museums from mid-April 2024. Timeslot reservations are essential only for the Caspar David Friedrich exhibition (until 4 August 2024) but sensible (and sometimes needed in busy periods!) for the Alte Nationalgalerie, Gemäldegalerie, Neue Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum, and Pergamon – Das Panorama. (The Pergamon Museum itself is closed until 2027!). Timeslots are released only a few weeks in advance. Online tickets are available from GetYourGuide, which seems to have timeslots available when SMB has already sold out. Many passes and multi-museum tickets are again sold (Kulturforum / Museums Island). Individual museum ticket prices range from €8 to €14 (€20 for special exhibitions). Online tickets are skip-the-line — go directly to the gallery entrance to scan the code but pick up free audioguides first.

For more general information on the Berlin State Museums:

News & Temporary Exhibitions:

More Museum Reviews and Museum-Specific Information:

Previous Temporary Exhibitions:

Henk Bekker in armor

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to European-Traveler.com, he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices. Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

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