Melchior de Hondecoeter - Ducks in a Wooded Landscape

Melchior de Hondecoeter - Ducks in a Wooded Landscape - image-1
Melchior de Hondecoeter - Ducks in a Wooded Landscape - image-1

Melchior de Hondecoeter

Ducks in a Wooded Landscape

Oil on canvas (relined). 83 x 66 cm.
Signed lower right: M. D. Hondecoeter.

Melchior de Hondecoeter was born in Utrecht in 1636 into a family of painters of Flemish origin, one of whom, his grandfather, was the landscape painter Gillis de Hondecoeter. Melchior began his painterly training with his father Gijsbert de Hondecoeter and after his death in 1653, continued with his uncle Jan Baptist Weenix. Between 1659 and 1663 Melchior is documented in The Hague until he moved to Amsterdam in 1663 where he married Susana Tradel. It was during these years that he began painting birds and still lifes with hunting scenes and dead game. His mature style can be associated with the work of the animal and still life painter Frans Snyders whose paintings he admired and collected. Hondecoeter often placed birds and other animals around the edge of the picture so they were cropped from the edge of the canvas, as in the present depiction. Hondecoeter was a productive artist and highly regarded during his lifetime, as today. His works were valued for their technical skill and decorative qualities and were readily imitated by his contemporaries.
Even a painting depicting wild fowl, as in the present work, is able to indicate the social structure of the Netherlands in the early modern period. Due to the hunting privileges of the nobility, wild fowl was mostly permitted to be hunted only by the noble tenants of the forests or by persons authorised by them. It is therefore not surprising that the hunt and its spoils accorded a special prestige since large parts of the population were excluded.
We would like to thank Dr Fred G. Meijer for his confirmation of the authenticity from high resolution photographs.


Lord Newborough, Glynllifon, Llandwrog, Wales;
His sale, Christie’s, London, 18 March 1938, lot 25;
There acquired by Vicars Brothers, London;
Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, London, 9 December 1987, lot 94;
With Douwes Fine Art, Amsterdam, 1989 (exhibited at TEFAF, Maastricht, March 1989, p. 57).


The Connoisseur, September 1938, p. 445

Lot 13 Dα

40.000 € - 60.000 €

187.500 €