1630/31 Rotterdam - 1691 London
An Italianate Landscape with an Elegant Hunting Party
Oil on panel (parquetted). 92 x 124 cm.
Signed and dated lower left: A. D. Hond 1654.
W. Keith Rous, Worstead House, Norfolk. - Auctioned by Christie´s, London, 29.6.1934, lot 64. - H. Burton-Jones, London. - Christie´s, London, 20.5.1938, lot 71. - A. Friedman collection, Stockholm. - Christie´s, London, 9.12.1988, lot 90. - Newhouse Galleries. - Kunsthandel R. Noortman, Maastricht. - Private collection. - Christie´s, Amsterdam, 11.5.2011, lot 45. - Private ownership, Europe.
Bertil Rapp: Abraham Hondius. Een vooraanstaand dieren- en jachtschilder van de 17de eeuw. In: Oud Holland, LXIV (1949), p. 65-67, illus. 2.
This work depicts a small hunting party in a panoramic landscape. The central, elegantly dressed rider is shown accompanied by attendants, watching his dogs set upon a boar. The mountains in the background to the right of the work indicate a southern landscape.
This work was painted in 1654, shortly after Abraham Hondius opened his own studio in Rotterdam. The image uses the compositional scheme of classic hunt paintings. As Rapp has pointed out, the work's palette is dominated by the cool, elegant tones typical of Hondius' early works. The scene could be interpreted as the rider telling his footmen to get the dogs under control. The attendant crouching at the foot of the tree is trying unsuccessfully to pull one dog away by its back leg and another by its collar. Although this is a hunting scene and the horseman occupies the centre of the composition, the animals are the true protagonists, and Hondius later painted them again without the figures. The contorted body of the white dog with its teeth sunk fully into the boar's head as the footman tries to restrain it, the brutality with which the pack has set upon its quarry and the terrified expression in the eyes of the boar all illustrate Hondius' dramatic, often brutal, but always empathetic way of depicting fighting animals.