Overview

Meindert Hobbema studied under the noted landscape artist Jacob van Ruisdael, and quite a few of his compositions evolved from the work of his erstwhile master. The Travelers, one of Hobbema’s largest works, is a close variant of a smaller painting of a watermill by Ruisdael now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Hobbema approached nature in a straightforward manner, depicting picturesque, rural scenery enlivened by the presence of peasants or hunters. He often reused favorite motifs such as old watermills, thatch-roofed cottages, and embanked dikes, rearranging them into new compositions. Hobbema’s rolling clouds allow patches of sunshine to illuminate the rutted roads or small streams that lead back into rustic woods. All six of the National Gallery’s canvases by Hobbema share these characteristics.

Inscription

lower right: m .hobbema . f 166[2?]

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

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], 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]

Exhibition History

1871
Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1871, no. 369, as A Landscape: travellers passing through a wood.
1894
Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters, and by Deceased Masters of the British School. Winter Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1894, no. 60, as A Watermill.[1]
1997
Rembrandt and the Golden Age: Dutch Paintings from the National Gallery of Art, The Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, 1997, unnumbered brochure.

Bibliography

1829
Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters. 9 vols. London, 1829-1842: 9(1842):727, no. 25.
1834
Nieuwenhuys, Charles J. A Review of the Lives and Works of Some of the Most Eminent Painters. London, 1834: 147-149.
1839
Héris, Henri. "Sur la Vie et les Ouvrages de Meindert Hobbema." La Renaissance: Chronique des Arts et de la Littérature 54 (1839): 5-7, repro.
1839
Koppius, P. A. "Meindert Hobbema." Drentsche Volksalmanak (1839): 114–128, repro., as dated 1662.
1854
Jervis-White-Jervis, Lady Marian. Painting and Celebrated Painters, Ancient and Modern. 2 vols. London, 1854: 2:225.
1859
Thoré, Théophile E. J. (William Bürger). "Hobbema." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 4 (October 1859): 34, 36, 38.
1861
Blanc, Charles. "Minderhout Hobbema." In École hollandaise. 2 vols. Histoire des peintres de toutes les écoles 1-2. Paris, 1861: 2:10 (each artist's essay paginated separately).
1864
Scheltema, Pieter. "Meindert Hobbema: Quelques Renseignements sur ses Oeuvres et sa Vie." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 16 (March 1864): 219 n. 3.
1885
Catalogue of Paintings Forming the Collection of P. A. B. Widener, Ashbourne, near Philadelphia. 2 vols. Paris, 1885-1900: 2(1900):no. 212, repro.
1891
Cundall, Frank. The Landscape and Pastoral Painters of Holland: Ruisdael, Hobbema, Cuijp, Potter. Illustrated biographies of the great artists. London, 1891: 157.
1907
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 8 vols. Translated by Edward G. Hawke. London, 1907-1927: 4(1912):385-386, no. 94, 387-388, no. 100.
1913
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis, and Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Pictures in the collection of P. A. B. Widener at Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania: Early German, Dutch & Flemish Schools. Philadelphia, 1913: unpaginated, repro.
1923
Paintings in the Collection of Joseph Widener at Lynnewood Hall. Intro. by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1923: unpaginated, repro.
1927
Rosenberg, Jakob. "Hobbema." Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 48, no. 3 (1927): 139-151.
1931
Paintings in the Collection of Joseph Widener at Lynnewood Hall. Intro. by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1931: 78, repro.
1937
Roos, Frank J., Jr. An Illustrated Handbook of Art History. New York, 1937: 183, repro.
1938
Broulhiet, Georges. Meindert Hobbema (1638–1709). Paris, 1938: 71, 381, no. 32, repro., as after Ruisdael, dated 1664.
1942
National Gallery of Art. Works of art from the Widener collection. Washington, 1942: 5.
1948
National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. Washington, 1948 (reprinted 1959): 59, repro.
1959
National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. Reprint. Washington, DC, 1959: 59, repro.
1959
Stechow, Wolfgang. "The Early Years of Hobbema." Art Quarterly 22 (Spring 1959): 3-18.
1965
National Gallery of Art. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1965: 68.
1968
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 60, repro.
1975
National Gallery of Art. European paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. Washington, 1975: 176, repro.
1981
Schmidt, Winfried. Studien zur Landschaftskunst Jacob van Ruisdaels: Frühwerke und Wanderjahre. Hildesheim, 1981: 156, 198 n.192.
1985
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, 1985: 203, repro.
1987
Formsma, Wiebe Jannes, R. A. Luitjens-Dijkveld Stol, and A. Pathuis. De Ommelander Borgen en Steenhuizen. Groninger Historische Reeks 2. 2nd revised ed. Assen, 1987: 35-37, 330-337.
1987
Sutton, Peter C. Masters of 17th-century Dutch landscape painting. Exh. cat. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Philadelphia Museum of Art. Boston, 1987: 350.
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 113-117, color repro. 115.
1997
Chrysler Museum of Art. Rembrandt and the Golden Age: Dutch paintings from the National Gallery of Art. Exh. brochure. Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk. Washington, 1997: unnumbered repro.
2011
Slive, Seymour. Jacob van Ruisdael: Windmills and Water Mills. Los Angeles, 2011: 87, 89 fig. 63, 101 n. 71.

Conservation Notes

The support is a heavy-weight, loosely and plain-woven fabric. It has been lined and the tacking edges have been removed. The current stretcher is slightly larger than the original fabric and as a result, extends the dimensions by approximately 1 centimeter on all sides. The presence of cusping indicates that the size of the original support was not reduced before the painting was lined. The fabric was prepared with a light tan-colored ground. The paint layer is moderately thick and the somewhat pastose paint was applied with free, clearly defined brushmarks. X-radiographs indicate that the two horses were painted on top of the landscape.

Small losses are scattered overall, but more are located in the foreground and around the edges. The sky is abraded, particularly in the dark cloud at top left, while the foreground is well preserved. The rear end and left hind leg of the white horse are discolored, possibly due to abrasion of a dark glaze. Prior to acquisition, two linings had been attached to the support. In 1981 a third lining was added. At that time discolored varnish and old inpainting were removed where possible. Aged insoluble inpainting in the sky, the damaged dark cloud and the rear end and hind leg of the white horse were toned.

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