In the yard of a country inn, a fashionably attired man and his hostess appear to be disputing his bill. In the background, other guests continue their revelry, while a man delivers sheaths of wheat and a woman and child look on. In Dutch scenes of everyday life, themes of buying and selling between men and women often convey connotations of flirtation and sex, as may be suggested by the overlapping hands of the central figures here.
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Title:Paying the Hostess
Artist:Pieter de Hooch (Dutch, Rotterdam 1629–1684 Amsterdam)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions: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
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]
Inscription: Signed (upper right, on beam): P d·Hoogh·
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)
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.
Brisbane. Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art. "European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," June 12–October 17, 2021, unnumbered cat.
Osaka. Osaka City Museum of Fine Arts. "European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," November 13, 2021–January 16, 2022.
Tokyo. National Art Center. "European Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York," February 9–May 30, 2022.
Christiaan Kramm. De Levens en Werken der hollandsche en vlaamsche Kunstschilders, Beeldhouwers, Graveurs en Bouwmeesters. Vol. 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 (wood engraving by Noël Eugène Sotain after an intermediary drawing by Etienne Bocourt), as "Le Gentilhomme à la ferme".
Henry Havard. L'art et les artistes hollandais. Vol. 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. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 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, , 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.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 333, ill.
Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann inThe Robert Lehman Collection. Vol. 2, Fifteenth- to Eighteenth-Century European Paintings. 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.
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), p. 70.
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 369–70, no. 89, colorpl. 89.
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.
Katharine Baetjer inEuropean Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art. South Brisbane, 2021, pp. 155, 231, ill. p. 154 (color).
Chris Saines inEuropean Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Exh. cat., Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art. South Brisbane, 2021, p. 38, ill. (color detail).
Remastered: Old Masters from the Collection of J.E. Safra. Christie's, New York. January 25, 2023, unpaginated, under no. 4.
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