23
23

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Pieter de Hooch
INTERIOR WITH ELEGANT FIGURES PLAYING MUSIC
Estimate
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 495,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
23

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Pieter de Hooch
INTERIOR WITH ELEGANT FIGURES PLAYING MUSIC
Estimate
400,000600,000
LOT SOLD. 495,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Master Paintings Evening Sale

|
New York

Pieter de Hooch
ROTTERDAM 1629 - 1684 AMSTERDAM
INTERIOR WITH ELEGANT FIGURES PLAYING MUSIC
signed at upper right above door: P. de Hoogh f
oil on canvas
35 1/4  by 42 3/8  in.; 89.5 by 107.5 cm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

D. Mansveld sale, Amsterdam, 13 August 1806, lot 67, sold for 40 fl;
Count Fries, Vienna;
Héris sale, Brussels, 19-20 June 1846, lot 28, to Le Roy for 2,300 frs;
J.C. Robinson, by 1872;
From whom acquired by Sir Francis Cook, 1st Bt., Doughty House, Richmond, where hung in the Long Gallery;
Thence by descent to Sir Francis Cook, 4th Bt. and the Trustees of the Cook Collection;
By whom sold to Thos. Agnew & Sons, London, September 1944, for £2000;
From whom acquired by R.P. Silcock, Preston, Lancashire, 1946 – October 1953;
With Duits, Ltd., London, 1953-4;
Hallsborough Gallery, London, November 1954 – February 1955;
With Sabin Gallery, London, March 1955 – March 1959;
St. James Gallery, London, 1959;
With David Koetser, Zurich, by 1968;
With Brod Gallery, London, by 1969;
From whom acquired.

Exhibited

London, Hallsborough Gallery, 1955, no. 13;
Tokyo, Marubeni Art Gallery, Masterpieces from Britain, 26 September - 5 October 1969;
Münster, Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Gemälde des 17. Jahrhunderts, May - December 1974, figure 25.

Literature

C. Hofstede de Groot, "Proeve kritische beschrijving van het werk van Pieter de Hooch", in Oud Holland, vol. 10, no. 3, 1892, p. 185, no. 61;
A. von Wurzbach, Niederländisches Kunstler-Lexicon, Vienna 1906-11, vol. 1, p. 717;
Abridged Catalogue of the Pictures at Doughty House, Richmond. Belonging to Sir Frederick Cook, Bart., Visconde de Monserrate, London 1907, and revised edition 1914, p. 24, no. 122;
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, based on the work of John Smith, translated by E.G. Hawke, London 1908, p. 513, no. 135;
A. de Rudder, Pieter de Hooch et son oeuvre, Brussels 1914, p. 100;
J.O. Kronig,  A Catalogue of the Paintings at Doughty House Richmond & elsewhere in the collection of Sir Frederick Cook Bt. Visconde de Monserrate, ed. by Herbert Cook, vol. II, London 1914, p. 46, no. 268, reproduced;
C.H. Collins Baker, Masters of Painting: Pieter de Hooch, London 1925, pp. 6, 8;
C. Brière-Misme, "Tableaux inédits ou peu connus de Pieter de Hooch, part III", in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, vol. XVI, no. 5, July-August 1927, p. 276;
W.R. Valentiner, Pieter de Hooch, Des Meisters Gemälde in 180 Abbildungen mit einem Anhang über die Genremaler um Pieter de Hooch un die Kunst Hendrick van der Burchs, Klassiker der Kunst vol. 35, Berlin-Leipzig 1929, no. 102;
M.W. Brockwell,  Abridged Catalogue of the Pictures at Doughty House, Richmond, Surrey, in the collection of Sir Herbert Cook, Bart., London 1932, p. 43, no. 268;
G. Langemeyer, Gemälde des 17. Jahrhunderts, exhibition catalogue, Münster 1975, p. 18, reproduced figure 25;
P.C. Sutton, Pieter de Hooch, Oxford 1980, p. 180, cat. no. 110, reproduced plate 112.

Catalogue Note

Pieter de Hooch specialized in intimate, domestic genre scenes, and in his mature period he responded to the growing demand for elegant, high-life interiors like the present work. Music was a popular artistic subject throughout the Dutch Golden Age, as it communicated messages about love, society, and morality. Rather than illustrating a moralizing riddle, however, this painting conveys the elegance of music and celebrates harmony in all its forms.

De Hooch painted several musical company interiors in his late career, experimenting with the number and arrangement of figures and their poses. A similar grouping appears in A musical conversation (fig. 1) in the Honolulu Museum of Art. In both paintings, a window at left provides the soft lighting in the main room, while a further scene appears through a far doorway at right, and the same dog looks out at the viewer from the foreground. Yet the subtle interactions between the figures create slightly different moods in each of De Hooch’s compositions, and convey different types of musical and social harmony. In the Honolulu painting, De Hooch emphasized the romantic associations of music: the woman seated at the window seems to enjoy the closeness of the man behind her, who reads over her shoulder from a songbook as they sing. Here, on the other hand, each figure plays a different instrument and concentrates on their practice, while a figure watches from behind the organ. While the violinist looks into the distance, the two women watch one another for timing, and the organist turns his head as if to do the same.

The internal focus of the musicians and the minimal lighting from the window suggest soft music and a refined mood, in contrast to the more boisterous and flirtatious scenes conjured by other genre painters. While De Hooch took inspiration from artists like Jan Steen (1626 - 1679), the latter’s use of satire in his depictions of musical parties seems not to have appealed to De Hooch. Even in Steen’s high-life genre scenes such as The Family Concert in Chicago (fig. 2), he employed humorous motifs that create a lighthearted mood, like half-empty wine glasses, overturned vessels, the dog and cat squabbling over food, and the young boy plucking the cello strings with a clay pipe, itself a symbol of vice. These details contribute to a moralizing message that a family must constantly work toward harmony; De Hooch’s quieter scene appears to be an example of social and musical harmony at work. The genteel couple spied through the doorway provides an additional example of concordance in relationships.

De Hooch was also interested in exploring qualities of light and space, which aligns him with Delft painters including Johannes Vermeer (1632 - 1675). Like Vermeer, De Hooch used a window at left as a light source and placed his female figures near it; he also employed the door as a stolen view into another room with another story playing out. The present painting provides just enough information about each figure’s role in the narrative for comprehension, but leaves the viewer wondering, for example, what the figure in shadow behind the organ is thinking.

Interior with elegant figures playing music stands out in De Hooch’s mature oeuvre for its combination of the late-century attention to luxurious details, and the keen observation of human interaction for which De Hooch is celebrated.

We are grateful to John Somerville, Keeper of the Cook Collection Archive, for assisting with the Provenance and Literature for this lot.

Master Paintings Evening Sale

|
New York