de Hooch (also Hoogh, Hooghe) was born into the family of a bricklayer
in Rotterdam in 1629. He received his early training under Nicolaes Berchem
in Haarlem and experienced the influence of the Haarlem genre painters
of Frans Hals’ circle. Around 1650 he worked
for a cloth merchant and art collector, Justus de la Grange, in Rotterdam
– both as painter and a servant. He had to accompany his master on his
travel to Leiden, the Hague and Delft. De Hooch married in Delft in May
1654 and joined the painters’ St. Lukas Guild in September 1655. He remained
in the town until 1661, when he moved to Amsterdam, where he remained to
the end of his life. De Hooch’s most important creative period was his
years at Delft. In his early years De Hooch had painted scenes of
soldiers and guardrooms but after his move to Delft, under the influence
of Vermeer and the Rembrandt's
pupil Fabritius he turned
to genre scenes showing the idyll of Dutch domestic life, in home interiors,
courtyards and gardens. His main characters are women: busy housewives,
loving mothers and careful and neat maids. Hooch is an outstanding master
of interior. He depicts anfilades of rooms, intimate and poetic domestic
world; gentle sun light penetrates through open doors and windows. Hooch’s
colours are warmer and softer than Vermeer’s.
Hooch had moved from Delft to Amsterdam by 15 April 1661, when one
of his daughters was baptized in the Westerkerk. In his Amsterdam years
his domestic interiors became richer and his compositions more complex.
His technique becomes progressively cruder and his late paintings often
contain clumsy figure drawings and a coarse palette. His works of Amsterdam
period of festive companies of ladies and gentlemen in luxurious interiors
do not belong to his best works.
The painter died im Amsterdam after 1683.
Dutch Genre Painting. XVII century. by E. Fehner. Moscow. Izobrazitelnoe
Painting of Western Europe. XVII century. by E. Rotenberg. Moscow.
Painting of Europe. XIII-XX centuries. Encyclopedic Dictionary.
Moscow. Iskusstvo. 1999.