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Melchior d'Hondecoeter (Utrecht 1636-1695 Amsterdam)
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Melchior d'Hondecoeter (Utrecht 1636-1695 Amsterdam)

A cockerel and a turkey fighting, hens, a parrot, a peacock, a muscovy duck, a pelican and other birds in a garden, a pond with a swan and a flamingo, a fountain and a palladian house beyond

Details
Melchior d'Hondecoeter (Utrecht 1636-1695 Amsterdam)
A cockerel and a turkey fighting, hens, a parrot, a peacock, a muscovy duck, a pelican and other birds in a garden, a pond with a swan and a flamingo, a fountain and a palladian house beyond
signed 'M D Hondecoeter' (centre left, on the entablature)
oil on canvas
52¼ x 67¼ in. (132.7 x 170.8 cm.)
Provenance
Katherine Osborne-Raggio, and by descent to
Osborne Sanderson Browne.
Confiscated by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg in Nice on 19 June 1944.
Recovered by the Allies and transferred to the Munich Central Collecting Point (inv. 21527).
Stored at Schloss Kogl, Austria, until 1955, when returned to France.
Restituted to Osborne Sanderson Browne in June 1955.
Acquired by the grandmother of the present owner in the 1970s.
Literature
Répertoire des Biens Spolís en France durant la guerre 1939-1945, (1947), 2, p. 209, no. 4639.
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
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Lot Essay

Melchior d'Hondecoeter was born into a family of artists. His grandfather Gillis painted landscapes, and his father Gijsbert, under whom Melchior trained, was a celebrated bird painter. After the latter's death in 1653, he entered the Utrecht studio of his uncle, Jan Baptist Weenix, whose oeuvre included many paintings of birds. Melchior subsequently based himself in Amsterdam, and became the pre-eminent specialist of this genre of painting in the second half of the century. Large-scale decorative game-pieces were popular amongst wealthy Amsterdam merchants to adorn the walls of their town houses and country mansions.

Hondecoeter's mature style owes much to Frans Snyders, whose work he collected. From him, Hondecoeter borrowed a compositional formula that he used consistently from the late 1660s: birds and animals seen close up in the centre of the canvas, others entering from the left or right, their bodies sometimes cropped by the frame, the middle ground blocked by a wall, fence, tree or architectural ruins across one half of the canvas, the remaining side opening to a distant vista.

We are grateful to Fred Meijer, of the RKD in The Hague, for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs.

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