Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard
Property from the Estate of Alexis Gregory, sold to benefit the Alexis Gregory Foundation
Melchior d'Hondecoeter

Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard

22 January 2021 • New York

Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard
Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard
Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard
Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard
Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard
603

Melchior d'Hondecoeter

Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard

Estimate:

60,000 - 80,000 USD

Property from the Estate of Alexis Gregory, sold to benefit the Alexis Gregory Foundation

Melchior d'Hondecoeter

Melchior d'Hondecoeter

Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard

Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard

Estimate:

60,000 - 80,000 USD

Lot closes:

Lot closes:

12 days, 15 hours

12 days, 15 hours

January 30, 04:41 PM (GMT)

January 30, 04:41 PM (GMT)

Description

Property from the Estate of Alexis Gregory, sold to benefit the Alexis Gregory Foundation

Melchior d'Hondecoeter

Utrecht 1636 - 1695 Amsterdam

Ducks, hens and other fowl in a yard


signed upper left on the fence: M. D. Hondecoeter

oil on canvas

canvas: 39 1/4 by 30 1/4 in.; 99.6 by 76.8 cm.

framed: 47 3/4 by 39 1/4 in.; 121.3 by 99.7 cm. 

Provenance

Charles Scarisbrick Esq., Scarisbrick Hall and Weightington Hall, Lancashire;
By whose estate sold, London, Christie's, 11 May 1861, lot 42 (101 gns. to Bale);
Colonel C.E. Coghill, Fern Hill, Market Dratyon;
London, Christie's, 13 April 1923, lot 45 (410 gns.);
Colonel M.A.W. Swinfen Broun, Swinfen Hall, Lichfield;
By whose estate sold, London, Christie's, 10 December 1948, lot 98 (75 gns. to Wengraf);
Anonymous sale ("Property of a lady"), New York, Christie's, 26 January 2011, lot 31;
There acquired.

Catalogue note

Melchior d'Hondecoeter was trained by his father Gijsbert and his uncle Jan Baptist Weenix. From them he took up the tradition of farmyard and park scenes and brought it to a hitherto unknown level of technical perfection and elegance. Although he began his career in The Hague, Hondecoeter's magnificent paintings of live birds such as this all date from after he had married and settled in Amsterdam in 1663. Here he was able to supply large paintings for the decoration of the town houses and country mansions of the rich burger class, whose taste for the exotic had been whetted by the opening of the famous Menagerie in the Kloveniersburgwal in 1675. The Swedish architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger (1654-1728), visiting Amsterdam, summed it up thus; 'D'Hondecoeter is the best painter for birds and the like, a civilised man, although young in years, who also showed me some very artful things. He has a very loose manner of painting which yet remains wonderfully true to life when seen from a distance. He always tries to paint animals which have the most singular colours...he paints all kinds of animals well, but birds the best'.1


Much of Hondecoeter's style was indebted to that of the great Flemish animal painter Frans Snyders, whose idiom and themes he embellished to suit the tastes of the wealthy patrican classes in Amsterdam. Hondecoeter's birds are painted on the scale of life and in true relation to each other, freely combining both familiar avians and more exotic species, one of the main reasons for their immediacy and decorative impact. The other is the extraordinary characterization and liveliness that Hondecoeter brought to his assembled feathered casts, as they act out their dramas in their garden settings. Here we see a rather proud rooster startling a mallard who appears to be backing off, both with their beaks open as if in conversation. The female duck, however, remains seated as the ducklings scurry about, seemingly unaware of the rooster's large presence.  


Though unpublished, the popularity of this composition is evidenced by the number of copies which have appeared on the market, including one sold at Sotheby's Amsterdam, 14 March 2007, lot 1, and one at Christie's London, 15 April 1992, lot 107.  


1. Gustav Henrik Vilhelm Upmark, Die Architektur der Renaissance in Schweden, 1530-1760, 1900, p. 125.