View full screen - View 1 of Lot 34. A peacock, pea-hen, pheasant, turkey, cockerel and chick by a wall, a landscape beyond.
34

Melchior de Hondecoeter

A peacock, pea-hen, pheasant, turkey, cockerel and chick by a wall, a landscape beyond

American Visionary: The Collection of Mrs. John L. Marion

Melchior de Hondecoeter

Melchior de Hondecoeter

A peacock, pea-hen, pheasant, turkey, cockerel and chick by a wall, a landscape beyond

A peacock, pea-hen, pheasant, turkey, cockerel and chick by a wall, a landscape beyond

American Visionary: The Collection of Mrs. John L. Marion

Melchior de Hondecoeter

Utrecht 1636 - 1695 Amsterdam

A peacock, pea-hen, pheasant, turkey, cockerel and chick by a wall, a landscape beyond


signed on the plinth center left: M D Hondecoeter 

oil on canvas

canvas: 49 ¾ by 60 ¾ in.; 126.4 by 154.3 cm.

framed: 56 by 69 in.; 142.3 by 175.3 cm. 

The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.


This work is in very good condition. The lining is nicely stabilizing the paint layer. There is a diagonal restoration of about 4 inches in length to the left of the beak of the green peacock, which probably addresses a break in the canvas. Hardly any other retouches are visible under ultraviolet light. There are no signs of abrasion or weakness, except in the shadowed areas of the white chicken in the lower right.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

With P. de Boer, Amsterdam, by 1955;
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 19 April 2000, lot 16;
There acquired by Richard Green Fine Paintings, London;
By whom sold, New York, Sotheby’s, 26 January 2006, lot 106;
There acquired. 

During the 19th century, Melchior d'Hondecoeter was often called the "Raphael of bird painters," and indeed throughout his career, Hondecoeter maintained a narrow focus on the representation of birds, initially in dead game pieces, and later in his career in depictions of live birds, sometimes exotic species, in landscapes. The present lot is a prime example of the artist's mature style, when he was strongly influenced by Frans Snyders, the famed Flemish animal painter who was active a generation earlier, and whose works Hondecoeter collected. The composition of this painting displays Snyder's impact, especially in the balanced setting, with a wall in the middle ground and an opening onto a distant landscape, as well as in the cropping of the turkey on the right hand side.


Rather than merely recording the appearance of his subjects, Hondecoeter composed veritable portraits of birds. One motif which he uses in a number of compositions is that of a hen protecting her chicks, as for example in the National Gallery, London's A Cock, Hens and Chicks (inv. no. NG202). In the present picture, the snowy hen appears to be in a state of panic, due to the arrival from the right of the much larger turkey, who threatens to clumsily trample on the chicks. In this painting as in other examples, Hondecoeter engages his audience by conferring human emotions and reactions to the birds he depicts.