- Hooch, Pieter de
- Dutch, 1629 - 1684
- Hoogh, Pieter de , Hooghe, Pieter de
Pieter Hendricksz. de Hooch (occasionally spelled de Hoogh) was baptized in the Reformed Church in Rotterdam on December 20, 1629. His father was a master bricklayer, and his mother a midwife. His only recorded teacher was the landscape painter Nicolaes Berchem, with whom De Hooch studied in Haarlem at the same time as Jacob Ochtervelt (1634-1682). The exact dates of this apprenticeship are not known. Berchem's interest in landscape apparently had little effect upon De Hooch, as his earliest paintings are almost all barrack-room scenes.
De Hooch is first recorded in Delft on August 5, 1652, when he and another painter, Hendrick van der Burch (active 1649-1678), were witnesses to the signing of a will. The next year he is documented as a painter and dienaar (servant) to a wealthy merchant named Justus de la Grange, a resident of both Delft and Leiden whose collection contained eleven of the artist's paintings when it was inventoried in 1655. De Hooch witnessed a baptism in Leiden in 1653, but in 1654, when he married Jannetje van der Burch of Delft, he was living in Rotterdam. He and his wife, who was probably the sister of Hendrick van der Burch, had seven children.
De Hooch entered the Delft guild in 1655, and is recorded as having paid dues in 1656 and 1657. He remained in Delft until the end of the decade, but sometime between mid-1660 and April 1661 he settled in Amsterdam. Apart from a visit to Delft in 1663, he apparently lived there for the rest of his life. At some point his mental health suffered, and by the time of his death at the age of fifty-four, he was an inmate in the Dolhuis (lunatic asylum). He was buried in the Saint Anthonis Kerkhof on March 24, 1684.
Between about 1655 and 1662 De Hooch's paintings almost all depict interiors or courtyards containing just a few people, who are engaged either in domestic activities or in some restrained form of entertainment or merrymaking. The atmosphere in these works is characteristically calm, spacious, and airy, all essential elements of the style of Johannes Vermeer, with whom De Hooch must have had contact.
In the late 1660s De Hooch's work rapidly lost its delicacy and finesse, his compositions became grander and more contrived, and his color harmonies and light effects harsher. Although De Hooch had no known pupils, artists whose works have been confused with his include Hendrick van der Burch (active 1649-1678), Ludolf de Jongh (1616-1679), Pieter Janssens Elinga (1623-before 1682), Esaias Boursse (1631-1672), and Jacobus Vrel (active c. 1654-1662).
[This is an edited version of the artist's biography published, or to be published, in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]
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- Rudder, Arthur de. Pieter de Hooch et son Oeuvre. Brussels and Paris, 1914.
- Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Pieter de Hooch; The Master's Paintings. Translated by Alice M. Sharkey and E. Schwandt. London and New York, 1930.
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- Wheelock, Jr., Arthur K. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1995: 132-133.