This painting of a flock of chickens from the Netherlands is attributed to the 17th century Dutch animalier painter, Melchior Hondecoeter (also cited as “d’Hondecoeter” or “de Hondecoeter”). The pastoral painting, depicting the chickens congregating outside, is surrounded by a wooden frame with thick molding. At the base of the frame is a brass placard reading “Melchior Hondecoeter 1636-1695”.
In the center of the canvas is a white rooster with black tail feathers. He stands more erect than the 10 surrounding chickens, with his gaze directed off-canvas. To the rooster’s right is a pair of hens, while there are four more to his left. The hens range in color from solid black to a variegated gray/white one. Four chicks can be seen near the rooster, roaming the light brown colored ground, which is sparse with vegetation. A red pendant or brooch can be seen at the rooster’s feet, possibly dragged into the yard because of birds’ fascination with shiny objects. Behind the flock is a stone wall covered with climbing ivy. In the more distant background is a row of green trees beneath a blue sky filled with dark clouds.
Melchior Hondecoeter was born in Utrecht, Netherlands, circa 1636. Hondecoeter began his artistic career by painting seascapes, but soon became known for his renderings of birds. Most of the subjects were exotic species, such as cranes and cockatoos, but he also painted game birds as well. Known for his accurate depiction of birds, Hondecoeter kept a variety species at his Amsterdam house, often studying their movements and anatomy. Works of Hondecoeter can be found worldwide, from museums in his homeland to private collections in America.
CONDITION: Good antique condition with rubs to the canvas and an old repair. Light nicks, losses, and age separations to the frame. The frame is likely not original to the painting and has been reinforced in the back to ensure that the canvas fits properly. Eyelet installed on the back of the frame for hanging purposes. Please see photos.