Meindert Hobbema Biography | Oil Paintings
10-31-1638 Amsterdam, NED – 12-14-1709 Amsterdam, NEDBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Originally named Meindert Lubbertszoon, Meindert Hobbema changed his name and studied under Jacob van Ruysdael in his native city. They were close friends and often painted the same subjects; as Hobbema lacked his master's genius in raising the dramatic temperature in his landscapes, Hobbema languished in his shadow. This must also have been the attitude of the picture buying public at the time, for eventually Hobbema was obliged to forsake painting and work as an exciseman, an arduous occupation that left him little time or inclination for art.
After a bitter war with Spain, the seven The United Provinces of the Low Countries gained independence. One of these was Holland, a republic ruled by Stadtholders (governors) of the House of Orange, though they had a great deal of local autonomy, suddenly found themselves a major European power. In the space of a few decades, this small population, living in the flat landscape crisscrossed with canals and dotted with windmills, emerged from anonymity to become the envy of the entire continent. Proud of their new achievements, painters went off in search of subjects to paint in their homeland.
While it is true that many of his paintings are not particularly distinguished, Meindert Hobbema at his best could be sublime and in recent times his painting has been the subject of considerable re-appraisal. It is generally recognized that Meindert Hobbema greatest achievement was The Avenue at Middelharnis, deceptively simple, yet a painting of immense subtlety and complex detail. Specializing in landscapes, he exerted a strong influence on the genre, at least until the end of the nineteenth century.
He died in Amsterdam ending his days in poverty and obscurity, his last lodging being in the Roosgraft, the street in which Rembrandt had died, just as poor, forty years before.
In the mid-1800's the best of his works were not valued at more than $30.00 (equal to $1300 today), and often the signatures were effaced from them, Ruisdael or Decker was substituted. Now, his canvases are highly valued and a work which before went begging, fetch a thousand times as much. Meindert Hobbema art is hanging in major museums around the world.