Interior With A Young Couple – Pieter De Hooch

The connection between Pieter de Hooch and Rembrandt is not established by records, but the influence either of Rembrandt or of his pupils is evident in much of De Hooch’s work. The painter began his career as footman and painter in the house of a rich merchant, Justus La Grange, who is known to have owned many of the artist’s early pictures. After leaving La Grange’s service he settled in Delft where Vermeer was living, and in emulation or imitation of this master, De Hooch’s best painting was produced. Many of his pictures of this time have been mistaken for works of the greater artist. His place in the Rembrandt influence is somewhere between that of Vermeer and Nicolaes Maes, both of whom he recalls. His peculiar accomplishment was the expression of the calm and peace of the Dutch houses, their tempered light, simple comfort, and immaculate tidiness. His interiors show us that the Dutch housewife of the seventeenth century was as scrupulous in sweeping and dusting as her descendant of today. He is fond of opening doors in his background and showing the room beyond with quiet light streaming in at a window, or perhaps a glimpse of a garden or a street with a sluggish canal beyond.

The Interior with a Young Couple is a characteristic production. In front of a bed by an open window a young woman is standing. At her left sits a man who snaps his fingers to call a little dog. Another room with gilt leather hangings shows through a door beyond. Hofstede de Groot places the picture around 1665 and in the artist’s best period. This date is toward the end of De Hooch’s sojourn in Delft. His work deteriorated steadily after this time, as he sacrificed his great talent in the effort to be popular, to paint grand people in rich costumes and magnificent halls.

The picture was formerly in the collection of Rodolphe Kann.