National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Travelers Meindert Hobbema (artist)
Dutch, 1638 - 1709
The Travelers, 166[2?]
oil on canvas
overall: 101 x 145 cm (39 3/4 x 57 1/16 in.)
Widener Collection
On View
From the Tour: Dutch Landscapes and Seascapes of the 1600s
Object 4 of 8


Gosen Geurt Alberda van Dyksterhuys [d. 1830], Château Dyksterhuys, Province of Groningen, by 1829; R. Gockinga and P. van Arnhem, Groningen, after 1829; (sale, Amsterdam, 5 July 1833, no. 11);[1] R. Gockinga, Groningen. Colonel Biré, Brussels;[2] (sale, Bonnefons de Lavialle, Paris, 25-26 March 1841, no. 2); William Williams Hope [1802-1855], Rushton Hall, Northamptonshire, and Paris;[3] (sale, Christie & Manson, London, 14-16 June 1849, no. 124); purchased by Fuller or perhaps bought in;[4] (William Williams Hope sale, Pouchet, Paris, 11 May 1858, no. 2). William Ward, 1st earl of Dudley [1817-1885, created earl 1860], Witley Court, Worcestershire, by 1871; by inheritance to his son, William Humble Ward, 2nd earl of Dudley [1867-1932], Witley Court; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 25 June 1892, no. 9); (P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London);[5] sold 1894 to Peter A.B. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; gift 1942 to NGA.[6]

[1] Both Van Arnhem and Gockinga had individually offered to buy the two pictures by Hobbema, including NGA 1942.9.31, that Gosen Geurt Alberda van Dyksterhuys owned. Before either had closed the deal, however, the owner died. It was later arranged that the two would purchase the paintings together; see Charles J. Nieuwenhuys, A Review of the Lives and Works of Some of the Most Eminent Painters, London, 1834:147-149.

[2] The catalogue of this sale bears the title Catalogue d'une riche collection de tableaux des écoles flamande et hollandaise, recueillie par M. Héris de Bruxelles..., but although the collection was "recueillie" (collected/gathered) by Héris and was offered for sale under his name, he may not himself have been the owner of the paintings. In the copy of the sale catalogue at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the words "Recueillie par M. Héris de Bruxelles" in the title are followed by the handwritten addition, "pour M. le Colonel Biré," and alongside the title in the Victoria and Albert Museum's copy is written "mais c'est la collection de M. le Colonel Biré," which suggests that Héris may have been acting as Biré's agent in acquiring and selling the pictures.

[3] The buyer's name is noted in the Philadelphia copy of the sale catalogue as "hoppe," which is probably a misspelling of Hope. (The 1858 Hope sale catalogue states that Hope bought the picture at the Héris sale.)

[4] Cornelis Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century..., 8 vols., trans. by Edward G. Hawke, London, 1907-1927: 4:406, lists the 1849 sale in the provenance of his no. 100, a painting that may or may not be identical with his no. 94, 4:403-404 (which is definitely The Travelers). The compositional descriptions given in both these Hofstede de Groot entries are similar, but the dimensions listed for no. 100, 51 x 54 inches, are impossible for the National Gallery picture. The identity and whereabouts of Hofstede de Groot no. 100 remain unclear; it is possible that Hofstede de Groot was mistaken in the dimensions that he gave for this picture, and that it was indeed the same painting as his no. 94. Hofstede de Groot further confuses the issue by listing part of the provenance of The Travelers under no. 94, and part (the 1841 Héris sale) under no. 100. The 1849 Hope sale catalogue does not give dimensions, so it is impossible to establish whether the painting offered there was The Travelers or the unknown, and perhaps apocryphal, "Hofstede de Groot 100." The picture in question fetched £367.10, and Hofstede de Groot, citing as his source a handwritten note in Smith's own copy of his Catalogue Raisonné, says that it was bought in. (In this copy, which is at the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie, The Hague, Smith gives the buyer as "Fuller," but this is not necessarily contradictory, as Fuller may have been a Christie's employee.) Smith's statement is probably correct, for the National Gallery of Art's painting remained in the possession of W.W. Hope until 1858, when it was sold in Paris.

[5] Colnaghi lent the painting to the Royal Academy of Art’s 1894 Winter Exhibition, which ran from January to March. The sale to Widener must have occurred later in the year.

[6] A label from the Art Institute of Chicago shipping room, dated 27 January 1943, was removed from the painting’s stretcher in 1981, but neither the Art Institute nor the NGA registrar’s office records this movement.

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