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 Pieter De Hooch  (1629 - 1688)

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Lived/Active: Netherlands      Known for: genre painting-domestic scene

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from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

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.   

De 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.   

The last 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.

Sources include:   
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

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