Paying the Hostess

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

ca. 1670
Oil on canvas
37 1/4 x 43 3/4 in. (94.6 x 111.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Stuart Borchard and Evelyn B. Metzger, 1958
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    The subject of a disputed reckoning is not common in Dutch art, but is found in one of De Hooch’s Delft pictures, dated 1658, and in travelers’ diaries of the time. In this mature work of the artist’s Amsterdam years, the pretty hostess of a country inn explains her method of accounting to a modishly attired customer. The seemingly flirtatious couple is surrounded by skillfully diversified effects of light.

  • Catalogue Entry

    Of the various human comedies that De Hooch set in city taverns and country inns, the theme of settling accounts is not the most familiar; however, the subject must have struck a chord with travelers along Holland's busy roads and waterways, as well as with travelers abroad. De Hooch enlivens this scene by transforming the customer (normally a more humble character) into a dandified gentleman and the proprietress into a pretty young woman. The figures' expressions and comparatively relaxed poses suggest that they are flirting as well as bargaining. Like many interiors by De Hooch, this one is remarkable for its rendering of light, which may be that of late afternoon.

    The subject of this painting is anticipated in a work of about 1650–55 by De Hooch's Rotterdam colleague Ludolf de Jongh (art market, New York) and in De Hooch's own Paying the Hostess of 1658 (private collection, London). The Museum's painting, which dates from about 1670, does not closely resemble either earlier work.

    [2013; adapted from Liedtke 2007]

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed (upper right, on beam): P d·Hoogh·

  • Provenance

    J. G. Cramer, Amsterdam (until 1769; his sale, Amsterdam, November 13ff. or 15ff., 1769); sale, Amsterdam, November 30, 1772, no. 15; Charles-Auguste-Louis-Joseph de Morny, duc de Morny, Paris (possibly bought for Fr 100,000 in St. Petersburg in 1857; definitely by 1863–d. 1865; his estate sale, Palais de la Présidence du Corps Législatif, Paris, May 31ff., 1865, no. 53, as "La Sortie du Cabaret," for Fr 10,000 to Demidoff); Paul Demidoff, principe di San Donato, Florence and St. Petersburg (from 1865); [Satinover, New York, 1922–23; ?sold to Borchard]; Samuel Borchard, New York (from 1923); his children, Stuart Borchard and Evelyn Borchard Metzger, New York (until 1958)

  • Exhibition History

    New York. Duveen Galleries. "Paintings by the Great Dutch Masters of the Seventeenth Century," October 8–November 7, 1942, no. 31 (lent by the Borchard collection, New York).

    Wichita Art Museum. "Civilization Revisited," December 4, 1971–January 30, 1972, no catalogue?

    Bordeaux. Galerie des Beaux-Arts. "Profil du Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York: de Ramsès à Picasso," May 15–September 1, 1981, no. 104.

    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. 23.

  • References

    Christiaan Kramm. De Levens en Werken der hollandsche en vlaamsche Kunstschilders, Beeldhouwers, Graveurs en Bouwmeesters. 3, Amsterdam, 1859, p. 734, cites a Paris news report of January 12, 1857 which mentions a de Hooch painting acquired by the duc de Morny for Fr 100,000 in St. Petersburg; possibly this picture.

    Léon Lagrange. "La galerie de M. le duc de Morny." Gazette des beaux-arts 14 (April 1863), p. 298, ill. p. 297 (engraving by N. E. Sotain after a drawing by E.-G. Bocourt), as "Le Gentilhomme à la ferme".

    Henry Havard. L'Art et les artistes hollandais. 3, Paris, 1880, p. 132, as "La Sortie du cabaret," in the de Morny collection.

    C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 1, London, 1907, p. 553, no. 276; p. 554, no. 281, as "Officer buying Straw from a Peasant" (no. 276) in the Cramer sale of 1769 and as "Setting out from the Inn" (no. 281) in the de Morny sale of 1865.

    W. R. Valentiner. "Pieter de Hooch, Part One." Art in America 15 (December 1926), p. 58.

    Clotilde Brière-Misme. "Tableaux inédits ou peu connus de Pieter de Hooch." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 16 (1927), pp. 260–61, ill. p. 259, as "La Sortie du cabaret," in the collection of Samuel Borchardt [sic], New York; states that Hofstede de Groot nos. 276 and 281 are the same picture; gives provenance information.

    W. R. Valentiner. "Pieter de Hooch, Part Two." Art in America 15 (February 1927), p. 76, no. 6, as "Paying the Hostess," in the Samuel Borchardt [sic] collection, New York; dates it to the artist's middle period, 1658–68.

    Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Pieter de Hooch. New York, [1930], pp. XIV, 281, ill. p. 105 [German ed., 1929, pp. XVII, 281, ill. p. 105].

    R[oland]. E. Fleischer. "Ludolf de Jongh and the Early Work of Pieter de Hooch." Oud-Holland 92, no. 1 (1978), p. 58 n. 10, p. 64 n. 17.

    Peter C. Sutton. Pieter de Hooch. Ithaca, N.Y., 1980, p. 81, under no. 27, p. 108, no. 111, pl. 114, as "An Officer Paying a Woman in a Stable"; dates it about 1674.

    Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann in "Fifteenth- to Eighteenth-Century European Paintings." The Robert Lehman Collection. 2, New York, 1998, p. 167 n. 14.

    Peter C. Sutton. Pieter de Hooch, 1629–1684. Exh. cat., Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. Hartford, 1998, pp. 17, 61, 114, under no. 13.

    Walter Liedtke et al. Vermeer and the Delft School. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2001, p. 287, under no. 32, dates it about 1670.

    Esmée Quodbach. "'Rembrandt's "Gilder" is here': How America Got its First Rembrandt and France Lost Many of its Old Masters." Simiolus 31, no. 1/2 (2004), p. 97.

    Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 369–70, no. 89, colorpl. 89.

    Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), p. 70.

    Peter C. Sutton. Vermeer and the Delft Style. Exh. cat., Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. [Tokyo], 2008, pp. 51, 58, 150, 158–59, no. 23, ill. (color), dates it about 1674.

  • See also
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History