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Little is known of Hobbema's early life. He was born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1638, passed most of his life there, and died there in 1709. He married a serving maid in 1668 and had three children. He was apprenticed to Jacob van Ruisdael whose style and subject matter had a profound influence on him. His earliest paintings bear the dates 1658-1659; he signed his first picture at the age of twenty.
Like Rembrandt, Hobbema was a poor man. Unable to support his children by his art, he became a wine gauger, measuring the contents of the great vats. After 1669, he held the position of municipal inspector of weights and measures.
Like most of the great Dutch painters of the 17th century, Hobbema was a specialist; he painted nothing but landscapes. His best-known pictures are now in the Louvre and the National Gallery in London; they were painted from 1660 to 1670, after which date Hobbema seems to have done little. His work belongs with that of Ruisdael and Cuyp to the best landscape painting of the Holland School. We do not know what happened to dry up creative imagination at the end of the 17th century in Holland, but Hobbema died all alone as a Dutch painter of world importance. His special qualities are a sure technique, more secure than that of Ruisdael; clarity of form; agreeable color and subtle lighting. He died destitute in 1709 and was given a pauper's burial.
Written and compiled by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.
New York World's Fair 1940 Catalogue: Masterpieces of Art
The Standard Treasury of the World's Great Paintings
Phaidon Encyclopedia of Art and Artists.
From the internet, Webmuseum, Paris