HOLL, Frank
(b. 1845, London, d. 1888, London)


English painter and illustrator. He received his first art instruction from his father, Francis Holl. At the age of 15 he entered the Royal Academy Schools, where in 1862 he was awarded a silver medal for drawing and in 1863 the gold medal for a religious subject, Abraham about to Sacrifice Isaac (untraced). In 1864 he exhibited two paintings at the Royal Academy, where he continued to show his work regularly until his death.

Holl was a superb draughtsman and came from a family of skilled engravers. He himself made illustrations for the 'Graphic' from 1871, finding many of his subjects in the East End of London. ('Graphic' was one of van Gogh's prime sources of inspiration when he lived in London during the mid-1870s. Van Gogh was a great lover of Holl's works and wrote enthusiastically to his brother Theo about them.)

Holl made his name as a painter of rather sombre scenes of everyday life, often with tragic themes. During the second part of his career Holl became a successful portrait painter. Beginning in 1879 he often painted as many as twenty portraits a year in a conscientious manner. It was this intensity of commitment that brought about his early death. He died aged forty-three from overwork.

Holl was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy (ARA) in 1878 and Royal Academician (RA) in 1883.

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