Century Magazine/Volume 47/Issue 6/Old Dutch Masters. Meyndert Hobbema
Only thirty-five years ago the best of his works were not valued at much more than thirty dollars, and often the signatures were effaced from them, and better known names, such as Ruisdael and Decker, were substituted. Now, however, his canvases are highly valued, and a work which before went begging at thirty dollars would probably fetch a thousand times as much. Hobbema ranks next to Ruisdael as a landscape-painter. Most of his works are in England.
The subject I have engraved is known as "The Avenue, Middelharnis, Holland." The long avenue of straight, lopped trees leads up to the village, in which the church tower is a conspicuous object. It is a faithful and characteristic glimpse of Holland, with its pastures, waterways, low horizons, and expansive and impressive skies. Above all, it is the sky which holds us here; we feel the vastness of the immense vault of heaven. The work is gray and neutral in coloring, yet clear, strong, and fresh. In this respect Hobbema stands about midway between the golden manner of Cuyp and the cool, sober style of Ruisdael. This painting is one of the finest of Hobbema’s, and is to be seen in the National Gallery, London. It is on canvas, and measures three feet, four and one half inches high, by four feet, seven and one half inches wide. The date upon it, 16—9, is read by some to be 1689, which would make it one of the latest of the artist’s signed pictures.