From October 11, 2019 to February 16, 2020, Museum Prinsenhof Delft will host the first retrospective of the famous 17th-century painter Pieter de Hooch in the Netherlands. Under the title Pieter de Hooch in Delft. Out of the shadow of Vermeer, the exhibition focuses on the artist’s heyday (ca. 1655-1660) in which Delft plays a leading role. Top pieces from all over the world come to Delft: the Gemäldegalerie Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the National Gallery of Art (Washington), the Kunsthaus (Zurich) and the Royal Collection Trust (from the private collection of HM Queen Elisabeth II) borrow paintings from. Among the loans are many famous paintings, such as the key piece of the exhibition: Courtyard of a house in Delft (1658) from the National Gallery in London. With around 30 top works, Pieter de Hooch in Delft is the most ambitious exhibition ever of Museum Prinsenhof Delft and was made possible by the Turing Awards 2017.
Master of the perspective
De Hooch was a versatile artist: he started his career by painting so-called “short guards” (soldier and inn scenes) and developed in Delft into a painter of courtyards, domestic interiors and occasional family portraits. The most beautiful courtyards and interiors from his Delft period return from October to the historic city center where he painted them almost 400 years ago. No other Dutch painter in the Golden Age managed to create so much depth in his paintings. In his works there are often several spaces that can be seen one after the other. His interiors and outdoor scenes seem to be perfectly constructed views. He is therefore called the “master of perspective”.
Master of the everyday
Few 17th-century painters have so strongly defined the image of Dutch decency and homeliness as Pieter de Hooch. He managed to present the everyday at its most attractive. His paintings determined our image of Dutch civilian life in the 17th century. De Hooch is a true innovator, he introduces in his paintings a theme that nobody else has painted in this way: the daily life in the courtyards behind the houses in Delft, often with women who are doing housework. In addition, children play a prominent role in many of his paintings. In 1658 this oeuvre reaches its peak, and he paints his most atmospheric, intimate interior scenes. With warm colors, vistas (there is always a door open somewhere) and natural light, De Hooch manages to evoke an atmosphere that is unparalleled. In the relatively short period that he worked in Delft (ca. 1652-1660), De Hooch made his most beautiful paintings.
Six loans from private international collections
Six paintings from famous private collections can be admired at the exhibition. For example, two exceptional loans from the Royal Collection Trust come to Delft, including the masterpiece Card Players in a sun-drenched space from 1658. In addition, the exhibition contains a beautiful view of Delft from the famous London Rothschild collection (Woman and Child at a Bleaching Area in Delft, 1657 -1659), a showpiece from the Bute Collection since 1935 and no more important work from the Amsterdam period of De Hooch (Kremer collection; Man reading a letter to a woman, circa 1670-74).
Research into Pieter de Hooch’s oeuvre
Prior to the exhibition, a combination of investigations has been conducted since 2017: art-historical and material-technical research, research into the topographical aspects of Pieter de Hooch’s oeuvre, archival research and research into the painter’s appreciation history. The material-technical investigation also extensively investigated how De Hooch knew how to deal with perspective so brilliantly. For the research, Museum Prinsenhof Delft works closely with the Rijksmuseum, TU Delft and an archival art historian and a construction historian. The results of these various studies are presented in the exhibition and described in the catalog that accompanies the exhibition.
De Hooch and Vermeer
After Johannes Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch is internationally regarded as the most famous Delft master of the 17th century. The paintings of both masters have often been attributed to each other over the centuries. Vermeer was also fascinated by the effect of light and perspective in interior spaces. The courtyards of De Hooch were a great source of inspiration for Vermeer. At the beginning of the 19th century, as a painter, De Hooch was rated as even higher than Vermeer, but from the end of the 19th century the image of the latter changed and the fame of the last painter began to outpace that of the first.
The exhibition is designed by Bureau Caspar Conijn. In the exhibition, attention is paid to research through a specially designed “multimedia research table”.
Online ticket sales will start in August 2019 via www.pieterdehoochindelft.nl. During the exhibition a surcharge of € 5.00 applies on top of the regular admission price including audio tour. Time slots apply to the exhibition that start every half hour. The catalog accompanying the exhibition is published by WBOOKS, costs € 24.95 (paperback) and is available in Dutch and English.
National exhibition prize
In 2017 Museum Prinsenhof Delft received the Turing Grant I, the prize for the best exhibition plan of a Dutch museum for the period 2019-2020. The Turing Foundation is the main sponsor of the exhibition.
The Pieter de Hooch exhibition in Delft has been made possible in part by the Municipality of Delft, the Central Government (the National Cultural Heritage Agency has granted an indemnity guarantee on behalf of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science), the Mondriaan Fund, Fund 21, Fund 1818, Rabobank, the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Stichting Zabawas, DSM, De Laatste Eer, Best Western Museumhotels Delft, the Friends of Museum Prinsenhof Delft, Werkse !, Members of the Williams College Class of 1965, AAme, the Countess of Bylandt Foundation, the French Mortelmans Foundation, Dorodarte Foundation, dr. Hendrik Mullerfonds, Foundation for Help to Delft Youth, Th.JH Dröge notary BV and Mecanoo.