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Pieter De Hooch was born in Rotterdam, Holland in 1629. He was
the son of a bricklayer and a midwife Little is known of de
Hooch's early history; he was a pupil of Nicolaes Berchem. It is
said that he was at first unable to earn his living as a painter, and
worked as a servant until he had the opportunity to paint. In
1654 he married and settled in Delft.
Hooch had a very close association with Vermeer, and much of his
painting was similar to Vermeer's. De Hooch does not astonish us,
as Vermeer does, by sheer brilliance in applying paint, but he pleases
us by his great competence in dealing with every pictorial aspect of
his chosen art of genre painting, and gives us a warm and illuminating
view of the life of his time, showing the daily routine of the middle
class with great affection. He had one major patron, a linen
merchant, who evidently employed him as both painter and servant.
But in 1660 through 1661, he decided to take a shot at the
big time, moving from sleepy Delft to Amsterdam. Documents show
that he lived in relative poverty, raising a family in rented lodgings
on the fringe of the city.
twelve years of De Hooch's life are largely mysterious, and
surviving paintings from this period affirm that his artistic skill
diminished considerably. Soon after the baptism of his seventh
child, in 1672, de Hooch entered the city's insane asylum, from which
his body was carried out, to a modest burial.
Written and compiled by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.
The Standard Treasury of the World's Great Paintings
Masterpieces of Art, New York World's Fair 1940 Catalogue
Antiques Magazine, date unknown
Family Values by Stephanie Dickey in Art & Antiques Magazine, January 1999
DeHooch: A View With a Room by Svetlana Alpers, Art in America, June 1999