SOLD BY THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART TO BENEFIT FUTURE ACQUISITIONS
Jacob Crammer Symonsz.., Amsterdam, 1778;
His sale, Amsterdam, November 25, 1778, lot 12 (as oil on panel), for 520 guilders, to J. Danser Nijman;1
J. Danser Nijman, Amsterdam, 1778-1797;
His sale, Amsterdam, August 16, 1797, lot 114, for 400 guilders, to Roos;
B. Ocke, Leyden, 1817;
His sale, Leyden, April 21-22, 1817, lot 54, for 370 guilders, to Van den Berg;
A.B. Roothaan, Amsterdam, 1826;
His sale, Amsterdam, March 29, 1826, lot 39, for 1185 guilders, to Brondgeest;
Sir Charles Bagot, by 1833;
His sale, London, Christie's, June 18, 1836, lot 37, for £68, to Nieuwenhuys;
Desire van der Schrieck, Louvain;
His sale Brussels, Paril 8-10, 1861, lot 34, for 6000 francs to Schollaert;
Schollaert (son-in-law of Van der Schriek), Louvain;
From whom acquired by G. Helleputte-Schollaert in 1899;
Art market, New York, by 1923;
With Kleykamp, The Hague, 1927;
With Knoedler, New York, 1927;
Allan C. Balch, Los Angeles, by 1927;
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Allan C. Balch to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1944, (Acc. No. M.44.2.8).
London, British Institution, 1834, no.. 107;
The Hague (Kleykamp) 1927, no. 19;
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Balch Collection and Old Masters from the Los Angeles Collection, March 26-April 30, 1944, no. 49;
La Jolla, La Jolla Museum of Art, Dutch and Flemish Paintings of the Northern Renaissance, June 3-September 20, 1964, no. 14;
Delft, Stedelijk Museum het Prinsenhof, Delft Masters: Vermeer's contemporaries: illusionism through the conquest of light and space, March 1-June 2, 1996;
Denver, The Denver Art Museum; Newark, The Newark Museum, The Art of Home and Private Life: Dutch Interiors in the Age of Rembrandt, September 2001.
A Woman Handing a Coin to a Serving Woman is a relatively late work by Pieter de Hooch datable to circa 1668-72. He painted it in Amsterdam, where he had moved from his native Delft in around 1660-61. While he continued to paint the domestic scenes for which he is famous, his interiors were increasingly more spacious and beautifully furnished, the fabrics more luxurious and the subjects more elegant. This may be explained in part by the more cosmopolitan and wealthier clientele he found in Amsterdam, but it is also part of a more general trend in Dutch painting in the later decades of the seventeenth century. We see this same evolution in the modish, attenuated figures of Jacob Ochtervelt and Casper Netscher, among others. The mistress of the house in A Woman Handing a Coin to a Serving Woman, with her elaborate coiffure, fur-trimmed jacket and silk skirt is more stylish and seems more delicate than the frankly bourgeois figures of De Hooch's Delft period.
In Amsterdam, De Hooch focused on a limited number of themes; one of them, as Sutton describes it, was that of women as "domestic administrators." 1 He shows his subjects at home and engaged in the activities related to running an upper middle class house. In A Woman Handing a Coin to a Serving Woman, the wife is sending her maid off to buy milk (or possibly beer) while the daughter of the house tugs at the maid's skirt, anxious to be off. The action is set in a clear, elegant interior, which De Hooch also used in a number of other paintings of the same period. The closest is Two Women Teaching a Child to Walk in the Musem der bildenden Künste in Leipzig (Sutton 87),2 also of circa 1668-72. The compositions are very similar from the large windows at the left, to the foreground table, to the positioning of the woman under the mirror, and even to the mantel with its arrangement of Chinese vases and bowls. The relationship of the three figures is also comparable, although in the Leipzig picture it is the child who is in the middle. The wife herself reappears only slightly changed in A Woman at Her Toilet with an Officer in Apsley House (Sutton 70), of circa1665, and a little older and heavier in A Woman Knitting with a Serving Woman and a Child in an English private collection (Sutton 103), of circa 1673. Despite the greater emphasis on wealth and elegance, A Woman Handing a Coin to a Serving Woman has that timeless quality that characterizes De Hooch as a painter. The movement flows from the exchange of the coin, down through the servant's arm to the large bucket and is then swept along the folds of her skirt to the arm of the child grasping her with one hand and pointing out their route with the other. The delicately modulated light shining in from the windows at the left surrounds the figures and imbues them with a remarkable stillness, like figures frozen in a dance.
1. See literature, P. Sutton, Pieter de Hooch, pp. 46-7.
2. Ibid, p. 102.
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