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.

In this work, the dirt road meanders diagonally through the village, passing half-timbered houses nestled among the trees. Figures strolling along the road or resting beside it are integrated harmoniously into this peaceful pastoral setting. Hobbema often had other artists paint staffage figures in his works. The elegantly dressed couple walking along the road was painted by one such unidentified collaborator. The idyllic qualities of Hobbema’s scenes, combined with the realistic effects of light and atmosphere, appealed tremendously to English collectors. In the nineteenth century, this painting along with its possible pendant (now in the Mauritshuis, The Hague), belonged to the collection of the Duke of Westminster.

Inscription

lower left: m. hobbema. / 1665

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Mme Jean Etienne Fizeau [née Marie Anne Massé, d. 1790], Amsterdam; (sale, Amsterdam, 27 April 1791);[1] Welbore Ellis Agar [1735-1805]; by inheritance to his two illegitimate sons, Welbore Felix Agar and Emmanuel Felix Agar; sold 1806 to Robert Grosvenor, 1st marquess of Westminster [1767-1845];[2] by inheritance to his grandson, Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 1st duke of Westminster [1825-1899], Grosvenor House, London; purchased 1912 by Baron Alfred Charles de Rothschild [1842-1918], London and Halton House, near Wendover, Buckinghamshire;[3] bequeathed to his illegitimate daughter, Almina Victoria, Countess of Carnarvon [c. 1877-1969, later Mrs. Ian Onslow Dennistoun], London; sold 1924 to (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);[4] sold November 1924 to Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 28 December 1934 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1834
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, London, 1834, either no. 136 or no. 139.
1845
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom, London, 1845, either no. 49 or no. 52.
1871
Works of Old Masters, Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1871, either no. 35 or no. 41.[1]
1925
A Loan Exhibition of Dutch Paintings, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1925, no. 11.
1925
Paintings by Old Masters from Pittsburgh Collections, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1925, no. 28.

Bibliography

1820
Young, John. A Catalogue of the Pictures at Grosvenor House, London. London, 1820: 37, no. 109, etched repro.
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):134–135, no. 65.
1834
British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom. British Institution for Promoting the Fine Arts in the United Kingdom. Exh. cat. British Institution, London, 1834: either no. 136 or no. 139.
1840
Young, John. Catalogue of the Marquess of Westminster's collection of pictures in Grosvenor House. London, 1840: 37, no. 109, etched repro.
1844
Jameson, Anna Brownell Murphy. Companion to the Most Celebrated Private Galleries of Art in London. London, 1844: 266, no. 99.
1845
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, 1845: either no. 49 or no. 52.
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: 2:166.
1859
Thoré, Théophile E. J. (William Bürger). "Hobbema." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 4 (October 1859): 33.
1861
Blanc, Charles. "Isaac Ostade" (vol. 1) and "Minderhout Hobbema" (vol. 2). In École hollandaise. 2 vols. Histoire des peintres de toutes les écoles 1-2. Paris, 1861: 1:10; 2:12 (each artist's essay paginated separately).
1871
Burlington Fine Arts Club. Exhibition of the works of Old Masters. Exh. cat. Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1871: either no. 35 or no. 41.
1890
Michel, Émile. Hobbema et les paysagistes de son temps en Hollande. Les Artistes Célèbres. Paris, 1890: 19, 50.
1891
Cundall, Frank. The Landscape and Pastoral Painters of Holland: Ruisdael, Hobbema, Cuijp, Potter. Illustrated biographies of the great artists. London, 1891: 58, 158.
1906
Wurzbach, Alfred von. Niederlandisches Kunstler-Lexikon. 3 vols. Vienna, 1906-1911: 1(1906):691.
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):394-395, no. 121.
1913
Graves, Algernon. A Century of Loan Exhibitions, 1813–1912. 5 vols. London, 1913-1915: 2(1913):515 or 517, nos. 49, 52, or 35.
1925
Carnegie Institute. An Exhibition of Paintings by Old Masters from the Pittsburgh Collections. Exh. cat. Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 1925: no. 28.
1925
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Loan Exhibition of Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. Exh. cat. Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1925: no. 11.
1930
Rosenberg, Jakob. "Meindert Hobbema: Country Road with Houses and Trees on Either Side." In Unknown Masterpieces in Public and Private Collections. Edited by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. London, 1930: no. 59, repro.
1930
Rosenberg, Jakob. "Meindert Hobbema: Country Road with Houses and Trees on Either Side." In Unknown Masterpieces in Public and Private Collections. Wilhelm R. Valentiner, ed. London, 1930: n.p., pl. 59.
1931
Frankfurter, Alfred M. "Masterpieces of Landscape Painting in American Collections." The Fine Arts 18, no. 1 (December 1931): 27, repro.
1934
Döhmann, Karl, and W. H. Dingeldein. Singraven: de Geschiedenis van een Twentsche Havezate. 4 vols. Brussels, 1934: 3:144-145.
1935
Tietze, Hans. Meisterwerke europäischer Malerei in Amerika. Vienna, 1935: 338, no. 194, repro.
1938
Broulhiet, Georges. Meindert Hobbema (1638–1709). Paris, 1938: 59, 196, 401, no. 189, repro.
1939
Tietze, Hans. Masterpieces of European Painting in America. New York, 1939: 322, no. 194, repro.
1941
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 97-98, no. 62.
1942
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 240, repro. 27.
1949
National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 99, repro.
1960
Baird, Thomas P. Dutch Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Ten Schools of Painting in the National Gallery of Art 7. Washington, 1960: 22, color repro.
1965
National Gallery of Art. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1965: 68.
1966
Stechow, Wolfgang. Dutch Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century. Kress Foundation Studies in the History of European Art 1. London, 1966: 78.
1968
Frick Collection. The Frick Collection: An Illustrated Catalogue. 2 vols. Vol. 1, Paintings: American, British, Dutch, Flemish and German. New York, 1968: 1:224.
1968
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 59, repro.
1974
Fitzwilliam Museum. Landscapes from the Fitzwilliam. Exh. cat. Hazlitt Gooden & Fox, London. Cambridge, 1974: 32.
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. 398, color repro.
1979
Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. London, 1979: 77, pl. 65.
1982
Robertson, Alexander, and Christopher Wright. Dutch Seventeenth Century Paintings from Yorkshire Public Collections. Exh. cat. Leeds City Art Gallery. Leeds, 1982: 16.
1983
Hanhisalo, Judith Evans. Enjoying art: painting, sculpture, architecture, and the decorative arts. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1983: 156-157, fig. 111.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 295, no. 391, color repro.
1984
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1984: 38-39, color repro.
1985
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, 1985: 202, repro.
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: 347.
1992
National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1992: 138, repro.
1994
Minor, Vernon Hyde. Art history's History. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1994: 118, fig. 20.
1995
Keyes, George S. "Meindert Hobbema's Wooded Landscape with a Water Mill." The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin 67 (1995): 48, fig. 7.
1995
Ploeg, Peter van den. Meindert Hobbema: Wooded landscape with cottages - A major acquisition for the Netherlands. The Hague, 1995: unpaginated brochure, fig. 6.
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 123-127, color repro. 125.
2003
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. Translated by Elizabeth Rigby Eastlake. Facsimile edition of London 1854. London, 2003: 2:166.
2005
Wiemann, Elsbeth, Jenny Gaschke, and Mona Stocker. Die Entdeckung der Landschaft: Meisterwerde der niederländischen Kunst des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts. Exh. cat. Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. Cologne, 2005: 109, no. 37, repro.

Conservation Notes

The support, a fine-weight, plain-weave fabric, has been lined with the top tacking margin trimmed. At some point or points during the painting’s history, the painted canvas along the top edge was twice folded over the stretcher to serve as a tacking margin. This edge was then later restored to the picture plane, while the original tacking margins on the bottom, left, and right sides were unfolded and added to the picture plane. The present dimensions are thus slightly expanded at the bottom and sides.

A thin, reddish ground layer is covered by a pale brown imprimatura, which has been incorporated as a mid-tone in the sky and foreground. On top of this base, the design was sketched in thin dark paint, which was allowed to remain visible in the shadows. Then the paint was built up in thin pastes. The sky was painted first with reserves left for the houses and trees. The landscape was completed before the foreground figures were added. The gabled house at far right was made smaller, and the tree to the right of the pathway was shifted slightly.

Thin bands of loss occur along fold lines and around tacking holes. The paint is rather abraded in the sky. In 1995 the painting was treated to remove discolored varnish and inpainting. At that time the sky was rather extensively inpainted to cover the abrasion.

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