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Lot 116: Hubertus van Hove (Dutch, 1814-1865)

A Romantic Affair: Paintings from an important private Dutch Collection

by Christie's

November 18, 2008

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Description: Hubertus van Hove (Dutch, 1814-1865)
An Amsterdam orphan girl preparing supper
signed 'H v Hove' (lower left)
oil on canvas
95.5 x 132 cm.

Notes: A 'traditional-Dutch' interior by Hubertus van Hove
By Dr. Paul Rem

We have at our disposal some reliable examples of home and palace interiors from the mid 19th century. The furnishings and decorations of the Gothic Hall and the then adjoining Marble Hall that Willem II had built behind his palace Kneuterdijk in The Hague, were most carefully depicted in aquarelle by Augustus Wijnands (Wijnantz) (1795- after 1850) (Rijksmuseum). Because of this we can identify later paintings and different furniture in the depots of Het Loo Palace. Examples of the private quarters of the Crown Princess, and later Queen, Sophie can be seen in the series of watercolours that Herman Frederik Carel ten Kate made during this period (1822-1891). They were made for her memoir's album (Het Loo Palace) and are considered to be documentary portraits of the rooms then.
It is quite a different matter when it comes to the romantic interior scenes, as they did not portray the actual interiors. The painted interior as a genre became immensely popular from the mid 19th century. The Golden Age allowed those who practiced this genre to cultivate the picturesque image of Dutch rooms. Some tried to equal the 17th century, while others even tried to improve the genre by portraying as realistically as possible a historical event. For example what Hendrik Jacobus Scholten (1824-1907) did with the reliving of Mary I Stuart's visit to Van der Helst's atelier (Rijksmuseum). David Joseph Bles (1821-1899) let fashionably clothed 18th century people figure in a wealthy 17th century setting. Not only Bles, but also Johan Hendrik Weissenbruch (1824-1903), Johannes Bosboom (1817-1891) and Pieter Frederik van Os (1808-1892) could choose upholstery for their works by referencing their own collections of antiques and interiors from the 17th and 18th centuries.

On the other hand, there were those who painted simple, contemporary scenes that radiated timelessness. Yet through their intimate character, play of light and open views were a reflection of the 17th century Dutch art of painting interiors, with Pieter de Hooch as champion.

The hardworking Amsterdam Orphan Girl painted by Hubertus van Hove (1814-1865) is within this genre a small masterpiece. The Amsterdam orphan girl was in and of itself a common theme. Her characteristic red and black uniform, complete with white cap and white apron, from the last quarter of the 16th century up to 1919 (when the uniform was abolished) was a familiar element of the Amsterdam scene. It was a cherished theme for painters such as Nicolaas van der Waay (1855-1936) and Thrse Schwartze (1851-1918).

Although Van Hove is known for his detailed painted contemporary 'portrait' of the interior of the Gothic Hall (The Hague, Royal Collection), the 'orphan girl' is a romantic scene more in the style of De Hooch. The orphan girl, a symbol of virtue and respectability, is preparing a simple meal in a 'traditional' Dutch room of a bourgeois home. The pallisander rosewood and ebony edged cabinet and classicism styled panelling of the hearth refer to the 17th century. The rococo styled mirror and the Louis XVI medallion chair however place the scene in a later day.

There seems to be no reference to the building in the Amsterdam Orphan Girl and we suppose that it refers to an older orphan girl who earns her living in the town, as a household servant, where the Bible (left) has the last word and the clock stipulates the daily routine.

Dr Paul Rem is curator of the Nationaal Museum Paleis Het Loo and author of numerous publications including Hofmeubulair: 19e Eeuwse Meubelen uit de collectie van Paleis Het Loo (Zwolle 2003).
Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €20,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €20,001 and €700,000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €700,001. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.

Provenance: Kunsthandel W. Paech, Amsterdam, 1935.
Mr Smidt van Gelder.
Instituut voor Nederlandse Meisjesstudenten (a gift from Mr Smidt van Gelder).
Anonymous sale, Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 20 May 1974, lot 18, where acquired by the present owner.

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