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The Visit

Pieter de Hooch (Dutch, Rotterdam 1629–1684 Amsterdam)

Date:
ca. 1657
Medium:
Oil on wood
Dimensions:
26 3/4 x 23 in. (67.9 x 58.4 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
29.100.7
  • Gallery Label

    Two women of uncertain reputation entertain visiting gentlemen. While rich in shadowy effects, this picture is one of the first in which De Hooch employed linear perspective to construct a realistic interior space (the bed, however, is underscaled). At the time, he was exchanging ideas with Vermeer, whose influence is evident in the most luminous passages. The French art critic Thoré-Bürger assigned this panel to Vermeer in his pioneering articles of the 1860s.

  • Catalogue Entry

    This work dates from about 1657, when De Hooch was on the threshold of his mature style. In 1864 and 1866, Thoré paid this "superbe tableau" the compliment of attributing it to Vermeer, although Smith in 1833 had considered it "a good example" of De Hooch's manner. The price paid by the Havemeyers at the Secrétan sale of 1889 [see Provenance] was one of the highest for a Dutch painting during the nineteenth century.

    Cleaning and conservation in 1995–96 and the painting's inclusion in exhibitions since then have increased understanding of its key position in De Hooch's development. Compared with almost any earlier painting by the artist, this one is more successful in its suggestion of an interior space that is established primarily by the architecture rather than by figure groups and furniture. The ceiling beams, the window, and an arbitrary seam in the floor establish main lines of recession, which are assisted by the bench and the raised shutter to the left, the nearest chair, and to some extent the covered table. However, the underscaled bed and the rather sudden shift of scale within the figure group reveal that De Hooch had adopted devices he had yet to master. Still clearly recognizable is the composition's development from De Hooch's inn scenes of a few years before, not only in the outline of space but in the interplay of light and shadow.

    The contemporaneous efforts of De Hooch and Vermeer to define the space of a typical domestic interior represent the local culmination of a development that was already well under way in the South Holland area (including Delft, The Hague, Leiden, Rotterdam, and Dordrecht). What remains distinctive of De Hooch himself in this picture is the importance of daylight and shadows for the sense of space, atmosphere, and mood, and also the reticent figures, which, compared with those making theatrical gestures in some of his earlier works, appear more consistent with a style based on observation.

    The couples enact a scene of playful courtship, which could be said to represent the domestication of a social theme that had earlier been set mostly in taverns and bordellos. The Delftware bowl on the table contains oysters or another delicacy, along with what appears to be a silver fork and a slice of lemon. The harbor scene on the wall must be meant to suggest worldly sophistication, since the city resembles Venice, which had a reputation for courtesans and luxury goods.

    [2011; adapted from Liedtke 2007]

  • Provenance

    ?Jacob Odon, Amsterdam (until 1784; his estate sale, Arnoldus Dankmeyer en Zoon, Amsterdam, September 6ff., 1784, no. 10, for fl. 300 to Braams Pelsdinge); baron François Delessert, Paris (by 1833–69; cats., 1844, no. 58, 1846, no. 80; his sale, at his hôtel, Paris, March 15–18, 1869, no. 36, as "Intérieur hollandais," for Fr 150,000 to Narischkine); B. Narischkine, Paris (1869–83; his sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, April 5, 1883, no. 16, as "La Consultation," for Fr 160,000 to Cedron); E. Secrétan, Paris (until 1889; his sale, Galerie Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris, July 1–7, 1889, no. 128, for Fr 276,000 to Durand-Ruel for Havemeyer); Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1889–his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Loan Collection of Paintings," May–November 1891, no. 6.

    New York. American Fine Arts Society. "Loan Exhibition," February 13–March 26, 1893, no. 16 (as "Interior," lent by Mr. H. O. Havemeyer, probably this picture).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Hudson-Fulton Celebration," September–November 1909, no. 53 (lent by Mrs. Henry O. Havemeyer, New York).

    New York. M. Knoedler & Co.. "Loan Exhibition of Masterpieces by Old and Modern Painters," April 6–24, 1915, no. 5 (lent anonymously).

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 10–November 2, 1930, no. 71 [2nd ed., 1958, no. 15].

    Little Rock. Arkansas Arts Center. "Five Centuries of European Painting," May 16–October 26, 1963, unnumbered cat. (p. 28).

    University Art Museum, University of California at Berkeley. "Dutch Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 25, 1969–January 4, 1970, checklist no. 7.

    Houston. Rice University. "Dutch Masters from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 18–March 1, 1970, checklist no. 7.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A326.

    Delft. Prinsenhof. "Delft Masters, Vermeer's Contemporaries," March 1–June 2, 1996, unnumbered cat. (fig. 134).

    Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "La collection Havemeyer: Quand l'Amérique découvrait l'impressionnisme...," October 20, 1997–January 18, 1998, no. 6.

    London. Dulwich Picture Gallery. "Pieter de Hooch, 1629–1684," September 3–November 15, 1998, no. 8.

    Hartford. Wadsworth Atheneum. "Pieter de Hooch, 1629–1684," December 17, 1998–March 14, 1999, no. 8.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Vermeer and the Delft School," March 8–May 27, 2001, no. 25.

    London. National Gallery. "Vermeer and the Delft School," June 20–September 16, 2001, no. 25.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.

    Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. "Vermeer and the Delft Style," August 2–December 14, 2008, no. 18.

    New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Vermeer's Masterpiece 'The Milkmaid'," September 9–November 29, 2009, no. 2.

    Rome. Scuderie del Quirinale. "Vermeer: il secolo d'oro dell'arte olandese," September 27, 2012–January 20, 2013, no. 15.

  • References

    John Smith. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters. 4, London, 1833, p. 229, no. 34, as in the collection of baron Delassert [sic].

    Notice sur la collection de tableaux de MM. Delessert. Paris, 1844, p. 24, no. 58, as "Intérieur d'une chambre".

    Notice sur la collection de tableaux de MM. Delessert. Paris, 1846, p. 52, no. 80, as "Intérieur d'une chambre".

    W. Bürger [Théophile Thoré]. "Galerie de MM. Pereire." Gazette des beaux-arts 16 (April 1864), p. 313, as "L'Intérieur de chambre"; attributes it to Vermeer.

    W. Bürger [Théophile Thoré]. "Van der Meer de Delft (1er article)." Gazette des beaux-arts 21 (October 1866), pp. 316–17, 551, no. 14, as in the collection of François Delessert; as "Conversation"; attributes it to Vermeer.

    Charles Blanc. "Galerie Delessert." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 1 (1869), pp. 202–4, ill. opp. p. 202 (engraving by Ch. Courtry), as "Intérieur d'une chambre"; rejects Bürger's [see Refs. 1864 and 1866] attribution to Vermeer.

    Henry Havard. L'Art et les artistes hollandais. 3, Paris, 1880, pp. 104–5, as "La Collation".

    L'art 1 (1883), ill. p. 113 (etching by Daniel Mordant) [see Ref. Wurzbach 1906].

    Henry Havard. Van der Meer de Delft. Paris, 1888, p. 36, no. 15, as "Conversation," in the Secrétan collection, Paris; as by Vermeer.

    A[braham]. Bredius. "Bijdragen tot de Biographie van Pieter de Hooch." Oud-Holland 7 (1889), p. 161 n. 2.

    C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. "Proeve eener kritische Beschrijving van het Werk van Pieter de Hooch." Oud-Holland 10 (1892), p. 188, no. 87e, p. 189, no. 34, as the famous interior from the Secrétan sale, now in America.

    W. Bode. "Alte Kunstwerke in den Sammlungen der Vereinigten Staaten." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 6, no. 1 (1895), p. 72, ill. p. 17, as "Unterredung," in the Havemeyer collection, New York.

    Alfred von Wurzbach. Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon. 1, Vienna, 1906, pp. 716–17, as "La Consultation".

    C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 1, London, 1907, pp. 529–30, no. 192, as "Two Ladies and Two Gentlemen in an Interior"; gives provenance information.

    Royal Cortissoz. "Old Dutch Masters." Tribune (September 19, 1909) [reprinted in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 4 (October 1909), pp. 166–67].

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. The Hudson-Fulton Celebration: Catalogue of an Exhibition Held in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1909, vol. 1, p. 54, no. 53, ill. opp. p. 54, as "The Visit," lent by Mrs. Henry O. Havemeyer, New York; dates it about 1658.

    Joseph Breck. "L'art hollandais à l'exposition Hudson-Fulton à New York." L'art flamand & hollandais 13, no. 2 (1910), p. 57 [published in Dutch in Onze Kunst 17 (February 1910), p. 42], as from the artist's best period, 1655–65.

    Kenyon Cox. "Dutch Pictures in The Hudson-Fulton Exhibition—III." Burlington Magazine 16 (February 1910), p. 305.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "Die Ausstellung holländischer Gemälde in New York." Monatshefte für Kunstwissenschaft 3, no.1 (1910), p. 9, as from the artist's best period, about 1658–60.

    E[mil]. Waldmann. "Die Ausstellung Holländischer Gemälde des 17. Jahrhunderts in New York." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 21, no. 4 (1910), p. 82, as from the artist's best period, around 1660.

    William Bode. "More Spurious Pictures Abroad Than in America." New York Times (December 31, 1911), p. SM4.

    Hans Jantzen. Farbenwahl und Farbengebung in der holländischen Malerei des XVII. Jahrhunderts. Parchim i. M., Germany, [1912], p. 24.

    Arthur de Rudder. Pieter de Hooch et son oeuvre. Brussels, 1914, p. 105, as "Deux dames et deux gentilshommes".

    W. R. Valentiner. "Pieter de Hooch, Part One." Art in America 15 (December 1926), pp. 47, 61, fig. 2, places it in the period between 1658 and 1663.

    Clotilde Brière-Misme. "Tableaux inédits ou peu connus de Pieter de Hooch." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 16 (1927), p. 60, ill. p. 57, as "La Collation," sometimes called "La Courtisane".

    W. R. Valentiner. "Pieter de Hooch, Part Two." Art in America 15 (February 1927), pp. 74, 76, no. 7.

    Abraham Bredius. "Pieter de Hooch und Ludolph de Jongh." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst 62 (September 1928), p. 65, as "Das Frühstück".

    Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), p. 462, ill. p. 474.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Pieter de Hooch. New York, [1930], pp. X–XI, XV–XVI, 275, ill. p. 62 [German ed., 1929, pp. XIII, XVII–XVIII, 275, ill. p. 62], dates it about 1661.

    Bryson Burroughs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. 9th ed. New York, 1931, p. 168.

    H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 18–19, ill.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "Zum 300. Geburtstag Jan Vermeers, Oktober 1932: Vermeer und die Meister der holländischen Genremalerei." Pantheon 10 (October 1932), p. 317.

    Georg Pudelko. "Per la datazione delle opere di Fra Filippo Lippi." Rivista d'arte 18 (1936).

    Franzsepp Würtenberger. Das holländische Gesellschaftsbild. Schramberg, Germany, 1937, p. 82, as "Zwei junge Paare beim Wein," in the collection of Mrs. Havemeyer [sic]; dates it about 1655–60.

    Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, p. 19, as "Interior, a Glass of Wine".

    Peter C. Sutton. Pieter de Hooch. Ithaca, N.Y., 1980, p. 79, no. 19, pl. 18, as "A Merry Company with Two Men and Two Women"; dates it about 1657; tentatively identifies it as a picture included in the Odon sale of 1704.

    Frances Weitzenhoffer. "The Creation of the Havemeyer Collection, 1875–1900." PhD diss., City University of New York, 1982, pp. 109, 119 n. 24, pp. 127, 131–32, 138, 144–45 n. 37, pp. 149, 166 n. 7.

    Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 58, 66, 77, 254, ill. p. 224 (installation photograph from Exh. New York 1915).

    Walter Liedtke. "Dutch Paintings in America: The Collectors and Their Ideals." Great Dutch Paintings from America. Exh. cat., Mauritshuis, The Hague. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1990, p. 46, dates it about 1657.

    Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 19, 191, 310 n. 37, p. 329 n. 268.

    Walter A. Liedtke in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 65.

    Rebecca A. Rabinow in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 91, 95, fig. 10 (installation photograph from Exh. New York 1915).

    Susan Alyson Stein in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 209, pl. 187.

    Gretchen Wold in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 349–50, no. A326, ill.

    Frances Suzman Jowell. "Thoré-Bürger and Vermeer: Critical and Commercial Fortunes." Shop Talk: Studies in Honor of Seymour Slive. Cambridge, Mass., 1995, pp. 126–27 n. 29, fig. 7, as "The Visit ('Merry Company')"; dates it about 1657.

    Frances Suzman Jowell. "Thoré-Bürger—A Critical Rôle in the Art Market." Burlington Magazine 138 (February 1996), pp. 123–24, fig. 69.

    Michiel C. C. Kersten in Delft Masters, Vermeer's Contemporaries. Exh. cat., Prinsenhof, Delft. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1996, pp. 143–45, 224, fig. 134 (color), as "A Merry Company with Two Men and Two Women ('The Visit')"; dates it about 1657.

    Peter C. Sutton. Pieter de Hooch, 1629–1684. Exh. cat., Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. Hartford, 1998, pp. 13, 26, 28, 31, 102–3, no. 8, ill. (color), as "A Merry Company with Two Men and Two Women"; dates it about 1657–58.

    Walter Liedtke. A View of Delft: Vermeer and his Contemporaries. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2000, pp. 178–79, colorpl. XII, fig. 242, dates it about 1657.

    Walter Liedtke et al. Vermeer and the Delft School. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2001, pp. 16, 135, 140, 156, 270–72, 280, 351, 376, no. 25, ill. (color), dates it about 1657.

    Frank Wynne. I Was Vermeer: The Rise and Fall of the Twentieth Century's Greatest Forger. New York, 2006, p. 169, colorpl. 14.

    Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 355–60, no. 84, colorpl. 84, fig. 93 (color detail); vol. 2, p. 871.

    Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 15, 28, 70, fig. 13 (color)
    .

    Walter Liedtke. Vermeer: The Complete Paintings. Antwerp, 2008, pp. 41–42, fig. 29 (color).

    Peter C. Sutton. Vermeer and the Delft Style. Exh. cat., Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. [Tokyo], 2008, pp. 52, 65, 138–41, no. 18, ill. (color, overall and detail).

    Walter Liedtke. "The Milkmaid" by Johannes Vermeer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2009, pp. 20, 26, 29, no. 2, colorpl. 2.

    Leo J. O'Donovan. "An Eternal Now: Vermeer at the Met." Commonweal 136 (October 23, 2009), p. 25.

    Walter Liedtke in Vermeer: il secolo d'oro dell'arte olandese. Exh. cat., Scuderie del Quirinale. Milan, 2012, pp. 57, 60, 67–68, 72, 134–35, no. 15, ill. (color).

    Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. in Vermeer: il secolo d'oro dell'arte olandese. Exh. cat., Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome. Milan, 2012, p. 34.



  • Notes

    Engraved by Ch. Courtry (Blanc 1869) and by Daniel Mordant in the sale catalogue of the Narischkine collection of 1883.

  • See also
436678

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