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. 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.

Signed and dated 1663, A Wooded Landscape is one of Hobbema’s most harmonious compositions. Sunlight breaks through the billowing clouds, but the dense summer foliage provides cooling shade to the people on the road who have stopped to converse and to the angler lounging by the pond. Hobbema draws the viewer back into the forest with pools of light that accent distant foliage and tree trunks. A chalk and ink drawing by Hobbema of this wooded glade seems to indicate that the painting represents an actual location.

In the 1830s this painting was a prized possession of a benevolent Irish landowner, Charles Cobbe. According to his daughter, Cobbe sold the Hobbema and another painting in 1839 in order to make urgent repairs to tenants’ cottages on the estate. His daughter remembered the tears in her father’s eyes when the paintings were removed from the wall, but, she noted, "the sacrifice was completed, and eighty good stone and slate ‘Hobbema Cottages,’ as we called them, soon rose all over Glenasmoil." Hobbema would have been pleased to know that the sale of his painting created new housing for so many families.

Inscription

lower right: meijndert hobbema / F 1663

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Thomas Cobbe [1733-1814], Newbridge House, Donabate, near Dublin, by 1770;[1] gift 1810, with the Cobbe estates and painting collection, to his grandson, Charles Cobbe [1782-1857]; sold 1839 through Michael Gernon to (Thomas Brown, London); sold 4 April 1840 to Robert Stayner Holford, M.P. [1808-1892], Dorchester House, London, and Westonbirt, Gloucestershire;[2] by inheritance to his son, Lieut.-Col. Sir George Lindsay Holford, K.C.V.O. [1860-1926];[3] purchased 1901 through (Charles Wertheimer, London) by J. Pierpont Morgan [1837-1913], New York;[4] by inheritance to his son, J.P. Morgan, Jr. [1867-1943], New York; consigned February 1935 to (M. Knoedler & Co., New York); sold 13 December 1935 to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 24 June 1937 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[5] gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1840
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, London, 1840, no. 22.
1851
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, London, 1851, no. 49.
1857
Art Treasures of the United Kingdom: Paintings by Ancient Masters, Art Treasures Palace, Manchester, 1857, no. 767.
1862
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, London, 1862, no. 3.
1887
Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters, and by Deceased Masters of the British School. Winter Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1887, no. 59.
1900
Exhibition of Pictures by Dutch Masters of the Seventeenth Century, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1900, no. 24.
1909
The Hudson-Fulton Celebration, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1909, no. 48, repro.
1914
Loan Exhibition of the J. Pierpont Morgan Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1913-1916.
2001
Clerics and Connoisseurs: An Irish Art Collection through Three Centuries, The Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, London, 2001-2002, no. 24, repro.

Bibliography

1770
Pilkington, Matthew. The Gentleman's and Connoisseur's Dictionary of Painters. London, 1770: 288.
1829
Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters. 9 vols. London, 1829-1842: 6(1835):149, no. 100; 9(1842):724-725, no. 18.
1840
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom. Catalogue of pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, French and English masters: with which the proprietors have favoured the Institution. Exh. cat. British Institution, London, 1840: 8, no. 22.
1851
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom. Catalogue of pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, French and English masters: with which the proprietors have favoured the institution. Exh. cat. British Institution, London, 1851: 10, no. 49.
1854
Jervis-White-Jervis, Lady Marian. Painting and Celebrated Painters, Ancient and Modern. 2 vols. London, 1854: 2:225, 344.
1854
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Treasures of Art in Great Britain: Being an Account of the Chief Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Illuminated Mss.. 3 vols. Translated by Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake. London, 1854: 2:202-203.
1857
Art Treasures of the United Kingdom. Exh. cat. Art Treasures Palace, Manchester, 1857: no. 767.
1857
Thoré, Théophile E. J. (William Bürger). Trésors d’Art exposés à Manchester en 1857 et provenant des collections royales, des collections publiques et des collections particulières de la Grande-Bretagne. Paris, 1857: 291.
1859
Thoré, Théophile E. J. (William Bürger). "Hobbema." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 4 (October 1859): 34.
1860
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Handbook of Painting: The German, Flemish and Dutch Schools. 2 vols. London, 1860: 2:444.
1861
Blanc, Charles. "Minderhout Hobbema." in École hollandaise. 2 vols. Histoire des peintres de toutes les écoles 1-2. Paris, 1861: 2:12 (each artist's essay paginated separately).
1862
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom. Catalogue of pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch, French and English masters: with which the proprietors have favoured the Institution. June 1862. Exh. cat. British Institution, London, 1862: no. 3.
1864
Scheltema, Pieter. "Meindert Hobbema: Quelques Renseignements sur ses Oeuvres et sa Vie." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 16 (March 1864): 216, 217.
1865
Thoré, Théophile E. J. (William Bürger). Trésors d’Art en Angleterre. 3rd ed. Paris, 1865: 291.
1887
Royal Academy of Arts. Exhibition of works by the old masters and by deceased masters of the British School: including a collection of water-colour drawings by Joseph M.W. Turner. Exh. cat. Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1887: 16, no. 59.
1890
Michel, Émile. Hobbema et les paysagistes de son temps en Hollande. Les Artistes Célèbres. Paris, 1890: 18, 50, 52.
1891
Cundall, Frank. The Landscape and Pastoral Painters of Holland: Ruisdael, Hobbema, Cuijp, Potter. Illustrated biographies of the great artists. London, 1891: 56-58, 157.
1894
Cobbe, Frances Power. Life of Francis Power Cobbe. 2 vols. Boston and New York, 1894: 1: 23-24.
1900
Burlington Fine Arts Club. Exhibition of pictures by Dutch masters of the seventeenth century. Exh. cat. Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1900: 26-27, no. 24.
1901
"In the Sale Room." Connoisseur 1 (September–December 1901): 190.
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):412-413, no. 171.
1907
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts. 10 vols. Esslingen and Paris, 1907-1928: 4(1911):430, no. 171.
1907
Roberts, William. Pictures in the Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan at Princes Gate & Dover house. London, 1907: unpaginated, repro.
1909
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Catalogue of a collection of paintings by Dutch masters of the seventeenth century. The Hudson-Fulton Celebration 1. Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,1909: xxxi-xxxii, 49, no. 48, repro., 154, 160.
1910
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. "Die Ausstellung holländischer Gemälde in New York." Monatshefte für Kunstwissenschaft 3 (1910): 10.
1910
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Old Dutch Masters Held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Connection with the Hudson-Fulton Celebration. New York, 1910: 18, 176, no. 48, repro. 177.
1913
Bode, Wilhem von. Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures and Bronzes in the Possession of Mr. Otto Beit. London, 1913: 21, 76, no. 28, pl. 16.
1913
Burroughs, Bryson. "A Loan Exhibition of Mr. Morgan’s Paintings." Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 8 (January 1913): 5-6, repro.
1913
Graves, Algernon. A Century of Loan Exhibitions, 1813–1912. 5 vols. London, 1913-1915: 2(1913):516, no. 767.
1927
Benson, Robert H. The Holford Collection, Dorchester House. 2 vols. Oxford, 1927: 2:ix.
1930
Valentiner, Wilhelm R., ed. Unknown Masterpieces in Public and Private Collections. London, 1930: n.p., pl. 59.
1937
Jewell, Edward Alden. "Mellon's Gift." Magazine of Art 30, no. 2 (February 1937): 73.
1938
Broulhiet, Georges. Meindert Hobbema (1638–1709). Paris, 1938: 68, 275, 424, no. 347, 373, pl. 581, repro. of signature.
1941
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 97, no. 61.
1942
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 240, repro. 26.
1949
National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 98, repro.
1959
Stechow, Wolfgang. "The Early Years of Hobbema." Art Quarterly 22 (Spring 1959): 12, 15, fig. 13.
1960
MacLaren, Neil. The Dutch School. Text. National Gallery Catalogues. London, 1960: 170.
1965
National Gallery of Art. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1965: 67.
1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 1: 248, color repro.
1966
Stechow, Wolfgang. Dutch Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century. Kress Foundation Studies in the History of European Art 1. London, 1966: 77, fig. 151.
1968
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 59, repro.
1975
National Gallery of Art. European paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. Washington, 1975: 174, repro.
1975
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1975: 295, no. 397, color repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 295, no. 390, color repro.
1985
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, 1985: 202, repro.
1986
Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Washington and Grand Rapids, 1986: 305-306.
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: 349 n 2.
1992
National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1992: 138, repro.
1995
Keyes, George S. "Meindert Hobbema's Wooded Landscape with a Water Mill." The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 67 (1995): 43-44, fig. 2.
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 117-120, color repro. 119.
1997
Hochstrasser, Julie Berger. “Inroads to Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Painting.” Nederlands Kunshistorisch Jaarboek 48 (1997): 210, fig. 14. (As Road into a Forest.)
2001
Laing, Alastair ed. Clerics and Connoisseurs: The Rev. Matthew Pilkington, the Cobbe Family and the Fortunes of an Irish Art Collection Through Three Centuries. Exh. cat. The Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood House, Hampstead. London, 2001: 9, 50-51, 71, 74, 87-89, 116, no. 24, color repro. 173, 373 n. 11 for Wheelock and Cobbe essay.
2003
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. Translated by Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake. Facsimile edition of London 1854. London, 2003: 2:202-203.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 212, no. 169, color repro.
2004
Keyes, George S., et al. Masters of Dutch Painting: The Detroit Institute of Arts. London, 2004: 110, fig. 2.
2011
Pergam, Elizabeth A. The Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition of 1857: Entrepreneurs, Connoisseurs and the Public. Farnham and Burlington, 2011: 313.

Conservation Notes

The support is a medium-weight, tightly and plain-woven fabric that has two lining fabrics attached to it. The original tacking margins were opened up and added to the picture plane, expanding the painting by approximately 0.5 cm on all sides. At some point in the painting’s history, this area was inpainted to incorporate it into the picture. The remainder of the original tacking margins as well as those of the first lining fabric have been removed. The stretcher is slightly larger than the painting and as a result the dimensions have been extended up to an additional 1.0 cm on all sides. The warm dark gray ground is a moderately thick layer. The paint was applied in a thin paste with vigorous brushwork. Low impasto is found in foliage and figure highlights. The ground continues onto the expanded areas around the edges, but the paint does not. The X-radiographs show a change in the lower left corner, where the artist painted out a small tree trunk.

A small L-shaped tear occurs in the clouds to the right of center. Small losses are confined to the tear and edges, and abrasion is minimal. There is a pronounced craquelure pattern in the sky, which is slightly disfiguring. Old newspaper on the back of the stretcher is dated December 1916. The painting was probably lined at that time. A second lining fabric was added when the painting was treated in 1941. In 1987, the painting was treated again to remove discolored varnish and inpainting, including the non-original paint that had been added to the opened-up tacking margins.

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