Meindert Hobbema (Amsterdam 1638-1709) A wooded river landscape with figures on a path
Lot 40
Meindert Hobbema
(Amsterdam 1638-1709)
A wooded river landscape with figures on a path
£150,000 - 200,000
US$ 200,000 - 270,000

Lot Details
Meindert Hobbema (Amsterdam 1638-1709) A wooded river landscape with figures on a path
Meindert Hobbema (Amsterdam 1638-1709)
A wooded river landscape with figures on a path
signed with initials and dated 'MH F/1659' (lower right)
oil on panel
54.2 x 71cm (21 5/16 x 27 15/16in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The Monden Collection, Wiesbaden, Germany, until 1923
    Sale, Muller, Amsterdam, 10 July 1923, lot 118
    With Goudstikker, Amsterdam, 1926, cat. no. 30, no. 71, from whom acquired by
    A.C. Mees, Amsterdam, until 1947, when acquired by
    B. Hoos, Wassenaaar, until 1956
    With Hoogsteder and Hoogsteder, The Hague, circa 1985

    Exhibited
    Rotterdam, Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum, Christmas Exhibition, 1943

    Literature
    G. Broulhiet, Meindert Hobbema, Paris, 1938, p. 427, cat. no. 368, ill., p. 286
    K.E. Simon, 'Review of Broulhiet', in Zeitschrift fur Kunstgeschichte, 9, 1940, p. 207
    W. Stechow, Dutch Landscape Painting of the seventeenth century, London, 1968, pp. 76-80



    The present impressive landscape by Meindert Hobbema which is dated 1659 sheds interesting light on this important artist's oeuvre. While a series of dated works from the first half of the 1660s have allowed art historians to gauge his development at that time, the position has been less clear before and after that period and parts of his career have been left to guesswork.

    Jacob van Ruisdael testified in 1660 that Hobbema had 'served and learned from' him for 'some years', but most commentators have suggested that it was only in the early 1660s that Hobbema's landscapes started to develop under the obvious influence of Ruisdael, inferring that his master's active influence on his work was remarkably short-lived. Indeed, Hobbema's earliest landscapes, with their slender trees and airy vistas appear largely to have been somewhat different in character from those of the 1660s, conforming more to the style of Salomon van Ruysdael and Cornelis Vroom. Hobbema's earliest known dated work is a View of a river of 1658 in the Institute of Arts, Detroit (no. 89.38, see fig. 1). With its insubstantial trees this shows the influence of Cornelis Vroom,(compare, for example, Vroom's River landscape, seen through trees, on loan to the Mauritshuis). The 1658 Hobbema is very different in style from both the present work, which was executed in the following year, and from those works which we know to date from the early 1660s and which show the influence of Ruisdael. In the present work, the Ruisdaelian elements are particularly evident, including the design with a road running diagonally through a monumental stately forest, the pond and its vegetation in the foreground, and the lighting which artfully distributes glimmers of sunlight and places the tree trunks in silhouette. It might be compared, for example, to Ruisdael's Edge of a forest with a grainfield of 1655 in the Kimbell Art Museum. The present composition can thus be best aligned with those works from that short-lived period of closest affiliation with Ruisdael which are today celebrated as his masterpieces.

    Despite these influences, Hobbema can nonetheless be distinguished from his master by his somewhat livelier and brighter view of nature: lighter, more colourful and expansive, his compositions gained greater freedom, and his touch became more fluid. It has been noted that Hobbema's landscapes consequently display a gentler aspect of the Dutch countryside than those of Ruisdael, exhibiting a different mood, generally avoiding his master's brooding melancholy with brighter tones and his characteristic palette of greens, yellows, greys and browns in the light-filled middle-distance. Here the fluid light conveys the calm and quiet of a sunny afternoon in the Dutch countryside, opening up the enclosure of the trees to the prospect of a meadow and the sun-drenched dunes beyond. The genre elements of the walking figures on the country road are also archetypal of Hobbema's work: thus a few bold touches of red which he uses for the characters' garments produce an eye-catching effect. This effect was, indeed, later to inspire one of Hobbema's greatest admirers: John Constable.
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