The Return from the Hunt

Object Details


The Return from the Hunt


Nicolaes Berchem (Dutch, 1620 - 1683)




Netherlands (Place created)




Oil on canvas


74.3 x 63.5 cm (29 1/4 x 25 in.)

Credit Line:

Purchased in part with funds realized from the sale of paintings donated by Burton Fredericksen and William Garred

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In the rustic courtyard of an Italian inn, a huntsman on a white horse, and several of his companions, refresh themselves. A multitude of hounds rest in the shadows; and the prize of the hunt, a deer, lies in the right foreground. Two huntsmen converse with a hostess-- perhaps regaling her with tales from the day's chase. On the balcony above, a washerwoman sets out laundry. At left, partly shrouded in shade, a woman serves two seated men. Above this trio, two pairs of tiny figures explore the upper reaches of the towering ruin behind the inn.

Nicolaes Berchem is best known for his imaginary Italianate landscapes. In these panoramic paintings, figures generally play a secondary role. By contrast, in The Return From the Hunt, Berchem focused on the interaction between figures and architectural setting rather than the landscape. The unusual vertical format showcases the artist's command of light. Light falling on the mounted horseman also illuminates the woman on the balcony as well as the figures on the left.

Hunters at rest was a popular subject among northern genre painters in the 1600s. In this painting, the pose of the man in blue, seen from the rear, quotes a well-known ancient sculpture of Hercules. Berchem may have seen this sculpture in person or copied it after an engraving.

before 1778

Heer Servad (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) [sold, Ploos van Amstel, Winter, Yver, Amsterdam, June 25, 1778, lot 3, to Fouquet.]

1778 -

Pierre Fouquet Jr., 1729 - 1800 (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

by 1787

De Cromot [sold, Paillet (Expert), Vallet (Commissaire-Priseur), Paris, January 29, 1787, lot 7.]

by 1793

Walckiers [sold, Paillet (Expert), Paris, May 10, 1793, lot 56.]

before 1816

Étienne Delessert, French, 1735 - 1816 (3 rue Coq-Héron, Paris), by descent within family to Jules-Paul-Benjamin Delessert

1816 - 1847

Jules-Paul-Benjamin Delessert, 1773 - 1847 (Hôtel d'Uzès, 176 rue Montmartre, Paris.), by inheritance to his brother Baron François-Benjamin-Marie Delessert

1847 - 1868

Baron François-Benjamin-Marie Delessert, 1780 - 1868 (21 rue Raynouard, Paris) [unsold, Pillet (Commissaire-Priseur), Petit (Expert), Paris, March 15-18, 1869, lot 8, bought in, passed to Mme Henri Hottinger, née Delessert.]

1868 - 1911

Delessert Family, French [sold, Delessert sale, Féral (Expert), Baudoin (Commissaire-Priseur, Paris, May 11, 1911, lot 21 , to M. Pape.]

1911 -

M. Pape

- 1920

Private Collection [sold, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, April 23, 1920, lot 23.]

- 1921

Private Collection [sold, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 4, 1921, lot 13, to Morpurgo(?).]


Van Diemen & Co.

by 1931 - 1960

Dr. Cornelis Johannes Karel van Aalst, Dutch, 1866 - 1939 (Hui-te-Hoevelaken, near Utrecht) [On loan to the Centraal Museum, Utrecht from 1931; sold, Christie's, London, April 1, 1960, lot 5, to Hans Cramer.]


Hans M. Cramer (The Hague) [sold, Kunsthandlung G. Cramer, z.Hd. Herrn H. M. Cramer, The Hague, June 7, 1960, to Herbert Girardet (Cologne).]

1960 - at least 1970

Herbert Girardet, 1910 - 1972 (Kettwig, Germany)

- by 1980s

Charles Roelofsz (Amsterdam) [sold to Victor Waterman.]

by 1980s - 1986

K. & V. Waterman [sold, Kunsthandel Waterman, Amsterdam, September 3, 1960, to Michal Hornstein (Montreal).]

1986 - 1998

Michal Hornstein (Montreal) [sold, Sotheby's, New York, January 30, 1998, lot 89, to Otto Naumann Ltd.]

1998 -

Otto Naumann, Ltd., New York [sold to Bert Van Deun.]

by 1999 - 2004

Bert Van Deun, 1931 - 2004, by inheritance to his wife, Mia, 2004.

2004 - 2005

Mrs. Bert Van Deun [sold to Robert Noortman, Noortman Master Paintings, Maastricht.]

2005 - 2006

Noortman Master Paintings [sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

Sammlung Herbert Girardet: Höllandische und Flämische Meister (January 24, 1970 to June 7, 1970) (Cat. 3)
  • Wallraf-Richartz-Museum - Fondation Corboud, (Cologne), January 24 to March 30, 1970
  • Stichting tot Beheer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, (Rotterdam), April 24 to June 7, 1970
Italian Recollections: Dutch Painters of the Golden Age (June 8 to July 22, 1990) (Cat. 11)
  • Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, June 8 to July 22, 1990
Inspired by Italy: Dutch Landscape Painting 1600-1700 (May 22 to August 26, 2002) (Cat. 28)
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery, (London), May 22 to August 26, 2002

Ploos van Amstel, Winter, and Yver, Amsterdam. Catalogus van een uitmuntend kabinet kostbaare Schilderyen [... ] Servad. June 25, 1778 pp. 2-3, lot 3.

Chez A. J. Paillet, Paris. Notice de tableaux originaux des premiers maîtres de l'école hollandoise [...] de M. de Cromot. January 29, 1787 pp. 8-9, lot. 7.

Alex. Paillet, Paris. Notice d'une jolie collection de tableaux des trois écoles [...] après le décès du citoyen La Chauvinerie [...]. May 10, 1793 lot 56.

Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters [...]. 9 vols. (London: Smith and Son, 1829-42), vol. 5 (1834) p. 28, no. 70.

Smith, John. Supplement to the Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters [...]. 9 vols. (London: Smith and Son, 1829-42), vol. 9 (1842) p. 595, no. 8.

"Catalogue de la collection de tableaux de MM. Delessert." Bulletin des arts 4 (1845) p. 45, no. 12.

Notice sur la collection de tableaux de MM. Delessert (Paris: Imprimerie Schneider et Langrand, 1846) p. 6, no. 14.

Pillet, Petit, Paris. Catalogue des tableaux composant la galerie Delessert. March 15-18, 1869 p. 9, lot 8.

Blanc, Charles. "La galerie Delessert." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 1, no. 2 (February 1, 1869) p. 105, ill. (detail; print by Comte after Berchem).

Hotel Drouot, Paris. Catalogue des objets d'art [...] de la collection Delessert. May 11, 1911 p. 26, lot 21.

Hôtel Drouot, Paris. Catalogue des tapisseries anciennes, gravures anciennes imprimées en couleurs, tableaux anciens [...] étoffe ancienne. April 23, 1920 unpaginated, lot 23.

Galerie Georges Petit, Paris. Tableaux anciens. May 4, 1921 p. 9, lot 13, pl. 13.

Catalogus der Schilderijen (Utrecht: Centraal Museum, 1933) p. 117, no. 252.

Christie's, London. Catalogue of Highly Important Netherlandish Pictures from the Collection Formed by the Late Dr. C. J. K. van Aalst. April 1, 1960 p. 6, no. 5, pl. 2.

Gerson, Horst. Höllandischer Maler des 17. Jahrhunderts in Italien (Essen: W. Girardet, 1996) unpaginated, pl. 6.

Vey, Horst. Sammlung Herbert Girardet: Höllandische und Flämische Meister, exh. cat. (Cologne: Wallraf-Richartz Museum, 1970) unpaginated, no. 3, ill.

Schatborn, Peter. "Figuurstudies van Nicolaes Berchem." Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 22, no. 1 (1974) pp. 12, 16, no. 31.

Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts. 10 vols. (Esslingen am Nekar: Paul Neff Verlag, 1907-28), repr. vols. 9-10 (Teaneck: Somerset House, 1976) p. 98, no. 165.

Müllenmeister, Kurt J. Meer und Land im Licht des 17. Jahrhunderts: Tierdarstellungen in Werken niederländischer Künstler. 2 vols. (Bremen: Carl Schünemann Verlag, 1978-81) vol. 2, p. 26, no. 30, ill.

Duparc, Frederik J., and Linda L. Graif. Italian Recollections: Dutch Painters of the Golden Age, exh. cat. (Montreal: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1990) pp. 68-69, no. 11, ill.

Robinson, William W. Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Rijksprentenkabinet, with Abrams, 1991) pp. 166-67, under no. 74, figs. 1 and 2.

Sotheby's, New York. Important Old Master Paintings. January 30, 1998 pp. 166-68, lot 89, ill.

Sutton, Peter C., and Marjorie E. Wieseman. Old Master Paintings (New York: Otto Naumann, Ltd., 1999) pp. 10-13, no. 3, ill.

Harwood, Laurie B., Christopher Brown, and Anne Charlotte Steland. Inspired by Italy: Dutch Landscape Painting 1600-1700, exh. cat. (London: Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2002) pp. 134-35, no. 28, ill.

Biesboer, Pieter, et al. Nicolaes Berchem: In het licht van Italië, exh. cat. (Haarlem: Frans Halsmuseum, with Ludion, 2006) pp. 71, 85, 144-45, no. 45, ill.

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