In this "morning after" scene, the subtle shifts in light through different rooms enhance the mood of the moment, and convey the artist's virtuosity to collectors of the time. The canvas must have been painted shortly after De Hooch moved to Amsterdam from Delft, where he had been exchanging pictorial ideas with Johannes Vermeer.
This painting dates from the early or mid-1660s, when De Hooch worked in Amsterdam. The same compositional type, with an open doorway, an interior window with a curtain, an enclosed bed, and a receding wall with a window to one side, was employed by the artist in several paintings dating from about 1658–60, among them The Bedroom (National Gallery of Art, Washington) and A Mother and Child (Maternal Duty) (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). However, the marble floor, the gilt-leather wall covering in the background, and the awkwardly intimate figures look forward to works of a few years later, such as An Officer and a Woman Conversing, and a Soldier at a Window of about 1663–65 (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg), and the morning-after scene of 1665, A Man with a Glass of Wine and a Woman Lacing her Bodice (Raby Castle, County Durham). De Hooch placed an impasto parallelogram of sunlight in several interior views of about 1665–68 (such as Woman with a Water Pitcher, and a Man by a Bed ["The Maidservant"], 32.100.15), an effect that is anticipated here. The passages of light and a few cast shadows (for example, that of the chair to the right) are among the best-preserved passages of the painting. Cleaning and conservation carried out in 2005 substantially improved the picture's appearance.
The idea that the couple is married and readying for a walk (Monod 1923) may be dismissed by comparing other interior scenes with a bed, a mirror, and a dog placed in close proximity to the figures. Rather, the woman's attention to her visitor probably depends, like the dog's, on the prospect of compensation.
De Hooch often used paintings within paintings to comment upon scenes similar to this one, whereas in other pictures they serve simply as decoration. In this canvas, the painting over the doorway (a still life?) seems to have been included for formal reasons alone; indeed, it contributes to one of the artist's most insistently rectilinear designs, in which even the figures and the dog appear to have been assigned specific places. The result in some pictures, and perhaps here, is a certain tension between social order and the natural inclinations of humanity.
[2016; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Rodolphe Kann, Paris (by 1892–d. 1905; his estate, 1905–7; cat., 1907, vol. 1, no. 52; sold to Duveen); [Duveen, Paris, London, and New York, 1907–8; sold for $77,920 to Altman]; Benjamin Altman, New York (1908–d. 1913)
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.
THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT, BY TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION BY THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART.
C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. "Proeve eener kritische Beschrijving van het Werk van Pieter de Hooch." Oud-Holland 10 (1892), p. 186, no. 71, as in the Kann collection.
Wilhelm [von] Bode. Gemäldesammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris. Vienna, 1900, p. III, pl. 14.
Wilhelm [von] Bode. Gemälde-Sammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris. Vienna, 1900, p. X.
Alfred von Wurzbach. Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon. Vol. 1, Vienna, 1906, p. 717, as in the Kann collection.
C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 1, London, 1907, pp. 496–97, no. 74, dates it about 1665.
Catalogue of the Rodolphe Kann Collection: Pictures. Paris, 1907, vol. 1, pp. VI, 53, no. 52, ill. between pp. 52 and 53.
Marcel Nicolle. "La Collection Rodolphe Kann." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 23 (January–June 1908), p. 197, as "Jeune couple se préparant à sortir".
François Monod. "La Galerie Altman au Metropolitan Museum de New-York (2e article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (November 1923), p. 310.
Karl Lilienfeld inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 17, Leipzig, 1924, p. 454.
C. H. Collins Baker. Pieter de Hooch. London, 1925, p. 8.
Clotilde Brière-Misme. "Tableaux inédits ou peu connus de Pieter de Hooch." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 16 (1927), p. 267, as "Préparatifs de sortie"; dates it about 1670 or perhaps a little earlier; states that Hofstede de Groot nos. 74 and 241 are the same picture [Hofstede de Groot no. 241 refers to a picture as lot no. 313 in the Munro sale of June 1, 1878, but that sale in fact contained only 153 lots, none of which is this picture].
W. R. Valentiner. "Pieter de Hooch, Part Two." Art in America 15 (February 1927), p. 76, no. 8, as dating from the artist's middle period, 1658–68.
Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. 2nd ed. New York, 1928, pp. 88–89, no. 49.
Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Pieter de Hooch. New York, , pp. XV–XVI, 275, ill. p. 61 [German ed., 1929, pp. XVII–XVIII, 275, ill. p. 61], dates it about 1660–62.
Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), p. 462.
Bryson Burroughs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. 9th ed. New York, 1931, p. 167.
Sylvia Hochfield. "Conservation: The Need is Urgent." Art News 75 (February 1976), p. 29.
Peter C. Sutton. Pieter de Hooch. Ithaca, N.Y., 1980, p. 89, no. 43, pl. 47, dates it about 1660–65; suggests that Hofstede de Groot no. 241, included in the Munro sale of 1878, may also refer to this picture [see also Ref. Brière-Misme 1927].
Julia Lloyd Williams. Dutch Art and Scotland: A Reflection of Taste. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland. [Edinburgh], 1992, p. 176, states that it was probably no. 313 in H. A. J. Munro of Novar's sale in 1878.
Nanette Salomon. "Domesticating the Peasant Father: The Confluent Ideologies of Gender, Class, and Age in the Prints of Adriaen van Ostade." Images of Women in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art: Domesticity and the Representation of the Peasant. Ed. Patricia Phagan. Athens, Ga., 1996, p. 52, fig. 11 [reprinted in "Shifting Priorities: Gender and Genre in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting," Stanford, 2004, p. 98, fig. 82].
Peter C. Sutton. Pieter de Hooch, 1629–1684. Exh. cat., Dulwich Picture Gallery, London. Hartford, 1998, pp. 30, 130, 132, 134, fig. 1, under no. 21, dates it about 1660–65.
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 32, 70.
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 362–64, no. 86, colorpl. 86, dates it to the early or mid-1660s.
Raffaella Colace inVermeer: la ragazza alla spinetta e i pittori di Delft. Ed. Bert W. Meijer. Exh. cat., Foro Boario, Modena. Florence, 2007, p. 128.