Abraham Danielsz Hondius
A huntsman and hounds in a landscape
With Koetser, London, 1947 (as “Jan Weenix”).
Sale; Sotheby’s, London, 16 April 1980, lot 2 (as “Jan Baptist Weenix”).
Private Collection, UK.
S. Kuretsky, The Paintings of Jacob Ochtervelt (1634 – 1682), Oxford, 1979, p. 12, illustrated p. 114 (fig. 6, as “Jan Baptiste Weenix”).
Hondius was the son of the city stonemason of Rotterdam, Daniel Abramsz. De Hondt. It is believed that he received his earliest training from Pieter de Bloot and then Cornelis Saftleven and his early paintings reflect the influence of both. Hondius was also influenced initially by Flemish painters, although the source of this influence remains speculative. Doubtless, he would have had access to etchings by Flemish masters. Though he is best known for hunting scenes, Hondius also painted, to a lesser extent, mythological characters and religious episodes.
Hondius lived in Rotterdam until 1659, at which point he moved to Amsterdam. In 1664 he travelled to London, where he absorbed some of the city’s contemporary trends and painted many topographical views. He spent the rest of his life in London, where he found a ready market for his views of hunting parties.
This painting exhibits a distinct Flemish sensibility in the handling of the topography, and the finely painted group of animals in the foreground recalls Dutch still lifes. A similar work sold at Christie’s (London, 7 July 2006, lot 213) has been dated to the 1650s, and although Hondius did not arrive in Amsterdam until the end of the decade, he would have seen etchings by Jan Fyt and prints after Frans Snyders. Hondius also painted a horizontal variant of this subject.
We are grateful to Fred Meijer of the RKD for confirming the attribution to Hondius on the basis of photos, and for contributing additional information to the provenance (written communication, 29 June 2014). Dr. Meijer writes that Hondius signed in this format, “Ad HONT”, up until about 1653, providing a terminus ante quem for this work.