- Hobbema, Meindert
- Dutch, 1638 - 1709
Meindert Hobbema, considered in the twentieth-century as one of the most characteristic and highly valued Dutch landscape painters of the seventeenth century, is not mentioned in a single seventeenth-century literary source. The earliest reference to his work occurs in Johan van Gool's 1751 lexicon of Dutch artists, where Hobbema is mentioned in passing as having painted "modern landscapes."
The artist was baptized as Meyndert Lubbertsz. in Amsterdam on October 31, 1638. His parents were named Lubbert Meynerts and Rinsje Eduwarts. Although he signed his name M. Hobbema on paintings as early as 1658, he only used his baptized name on legal documents until 1660. The reasons for this use of the name Hobbema are unknown. In July 1660, the landscape painter Jacob van Ruisdael testified that Hobbema had "served and learned with me for a few years." The apprenticeship may have begun around 1658, shortly after Ruisdael moved to Amsterdam. Nevertheless, the impact of Ruisdael's work on Hobbema is not apparent until after 1660. Hobbema's earlier work seems more closely related to the lighter and more delicate landscapes of Jacob's uncle Salomon van Ruysdael (1600/03-1670) than it does to Ruisdael's.
Hobbema's relationship to Jacob van Ruisdael must have remained close during the 1660s, both personally and professionally. Many of Hobbema's compositions produced during this period evolve from those of his master, and in 1668 Ruisdael was a witness at Hobbema's marriage to Eeltien Vinck. Vinck was a kitchen maid to Lambert Reynst, a burgomaster of Amsterdam, and through this connection Hobbema seems to have been awarded the well-paid position of a wine gauger of the Amsterdam octroi. After his marriage Hobbema painted relatively infrequently. He outlived his wife and five children and was buried a pauper at the cemetery of the Westerkerk, Amsterdam, in 1709 at the age of 71.
Although Broulhiet attributes about 500 paintings to Hobbema in his monograph, many of his attributions cannot be defended. A number of the paintings he gives to Hobbema are by contemporaries who painted in similar styles, as for example Jan van Kessel (1641-1680). Others are probably nineteenth-century imitations painted at a time when Hobbema's style was extremely fashionable. Nevertheless, a range of quality does exist in paintings whose attribution to Hobbema seems justifiable. While we have no documentary evidence about Hobbema's workshop practices, it seems likely that he had assistants working with him under his direct supervision producing variations of his own compositions. He also utilized a number of staffage specialists to paint small figures in his landscapes. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
- Van Gool, Johan. De Nieuwe Schouburg der Nederlantsche Kunstschilder en Schilderessen. 2 vols. The Hague, 1751: 2:490.
- Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters. 9 vols. London, 1829-1842: 6 (1835):109-163, 9 (1842):719-729.
- Cundall, Frank. The Landscape and Pastoral Painters of Holland. London, 1891.
- Bredius, Abraham. Uit Hobbema's laatste levensjaren. Oud-Holland 28 (1910):93-106; 29 (1911):124-128; 33 (1915):193-198.
- Rosenberg, Jacob. "Hobbema." Jahrbuch der Preussischen Kunstsammlungen 48 (1927): 139-151.
- Broulhiet, Georges. Meindert Hobbema (1638-1709). Paris, 1938.
- Stechow, Wolfgang. Dutch Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century. National Gallery of Art Kress Foundation Studies in the History of European Art, no. 1. London, 1966: 76-80, 127-128.
- Sutton, Peter C., et al. Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Painting. Exh. cat. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Philadelphia Museum of Art. Boston, 1987: 345-354.
- MacLaren, Neil. The Dutch School, 1600-1900. Revised and expanded by Christopher Brown. 2 vols. National Gallery Catalogues. London, 1991: 1:175.
- Wheelock, Jr., Arthur K. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1995: 112.