A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy

Object Details


A Woman Preparing Bread and Butter for a Boy


Pieter de Hooch (Dutch, 1629 - 1684)




about 1660 - 1663


Oil on canvas


68.6 x 53.3 cm (27 x 21 in.)

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A mother butters bread while her son stands beside her, his head bent in prayer over the food. He is about to depart for the school seen through the open front door and identified by the sign reading schole. A small triangular niche above the inner doorway holds several books and a candlestick, perhaps alluding to the enlightenment that education brings. A small top lying on the floor in front of the chamber doorway may refer to a Dutch proverb that states a child and a top will both fall idle unless continually "whipped." Education and proper attitudes toward child-rearing were important issues in Protestant countries during the seventeenth century, and many paintings made during this period contain moral overtones and pious references.

The use of vertical lines and geometric forms conveys the orderly simplicity of this interior scene. Natural light spills through the front door and onto the tiled entryway. In contrast, the foreground interior is dark, emphasizing a solemn and reverent moment in Dutch domestic life.

- 1750

Private Collection [sold, Amsterdam, April 16, 1750, lot 4.]

by 1794/1795 - 1800

Jan Jansz. Gildemeester (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) [sold, Gildemeester sale, Schley, Bosch, Yver, Roos, Pruysenaar, Amsterdam, June 11, 1800, lot 74, to Jan Yver.]

1800 -

Jan Yver

- 1823

Anton Meynts, died 1823 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) [sold, Meynts sale, de Vries...Roos, Amsterdam, July 15, 1823, lot 44, through Albertus Brondgeest (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) to Johan Gijsbert Verstolk van Soelen.]

1823 - 1845

Baron Johan Gijsbert Verstolk van Soelen, 1776 - 1845 (The Hague, The Netherlands), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1845 - 1846

Estate of Baron Johan Gijsbert Verstolk van Soelen, 1776 - 1845, sold to Humphrey Saint-John Mildmay, 1846.

1846 - 1853

Humphrey Saint-John Mildmay, 1794 - 1853 (Shoreham Place, Kent, England), by inheritance to Humphrey Francis Mildmay, 1853.

1853 - 1866

Humphrey Francis Mildmay, died 1866 (Shoreham Place, Kent, England), by inheritance to Henry Bingham Mildmay, 1866.

1866 - 1893

Henry Bingham Mildmay, 1828 - 1905 (Shoreham Place, Kent, England) [sold, Mildmay sale, Christie's, London, June 24, 1893, lot 30, to Lawrie and Co. and Colnaghi.]


Lawrie and Co. (London, England)


and Colnaghi (London, England), sold to George A. Drummond, 1893.

1893 - 1910

Sir George A. Drummond, died 1910 (Montreal, Canada), by inheritance to his wife, Julia Drummond, 1910.

1910 - 1919

Lady Julia Drummond, born 1861 (Montreal, Canada) [sold, Drummond sale, Christie's, London, June 26, 1919, lot 185, to Knoedler & Company.]

1919 - 1920

Knoedler & Company, 1846 - 2011 (London, England; New York, New York; Paris, France), sold to Andrew W. Mellon, June 1920.

1920 - 1929

Andrew W. Mellon, 1855 - 1937 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Washington, DC), sold to Julius Böhler, 1929.


Julius Böhler Gallery (Munich, Germany; Lucerne, Switzerland), sold to Heinrich von Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1929.

1929 - 1947

Baron Heinrich von Thyssen-Bornemisza, German, 1875 - 1947 (Schloss Rohoncz, Rechnitz, Austria; Villa Favorita, Castagnola, Switzerland), by inheritance to his daughter, Gabrielle Thyssen-Bornemisza Bentinck, 1947

1947 - 1984

Baroness Gabrielle Thyssen-Bornemisza Bentinck (Paris, France; Düsseldorf, Germany), sold to Edward Speelman, Ltd., 1984.


Edward Speelman, Ltd. (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Royal Academy Exhibition 1876 (1876) (no. 205)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), 1876
Seventeenth Loan Exhibition of Paintings in Oil and Water Colours (November 29 to December 28, 1893) (40; lent by Drummond)
  • Art Association of Montreal, (Montréal), November 29 to December 28, 1893
Special Loan Exhibition: New Year's Day (January 1 to January 2, 1902) (no cat. (lent by Drummond))
  • Art Association of Montreal, (Montréal), January 1 to January 2, 1902
Inaugural Loan Exhibition (December 9, 1912 to January 6, 1913) (17; lent by Lady Drummond)
  • Art Association of Montreal, (Montréal), December 6, 1912 to January 6, 1913
A Catalogue of Paintings from the Collection of the Late Sir George Drummond (January 31 to March 18, 1918) (32; lent by Lady Drummond)
  • Art Association of Montreal, (Montréal), January 31 to March 16, 1918
Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz. Gemälde (1930) (no.158)
  • Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Neue Pinakothek, (Munich), 1930
Le Décor de la Vie Privée en Holland au XVIIe Siècle (Frebruary 1 to March 7, 1965) (28)
  • Institut Néerlandais, (Paris), February 1 to March 7, 1965
Choix de la Collection Bentinck (May 20 to June 28, 1970) (28)
  • Institut Néerlandais, (Paris), May 20 to June 28, 1970
Aus Hollands grosser Malerei Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf (1973) (9)
  • Museum für Kulturgeschichte, (Bielefeld), 1973
Pieter de Hooch (September 3, 1998 to February 27, 1999) (9)
  • Dulwich Picture Gallery, (London), September 3 to November 24, 1998
  • Wadsworth Atheneum, (Hartford), December 17, 1998 to February 27, 1999
Johannes Vermeer (February 18 to May 18, 2003) (9)
  • Museo del Prado, (Madrid), February 18 to May 18, 2003
Vermeer: La Ragazza alla Spinetta e i Pittori di Delft (April 15 to July 15, 2007) (14)
  • Foro Boario, (Modena), April 14 to July 15, 2007
Johannes Vermeer: Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (February 16 to March 31, 2013) (14)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 15 to March 31, 2013

Hoet, Gerard. Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen met derzelver pryzen. Zedert een langen reeks van Jaaren zoo in Holland als op andere Plaatzen in het openbaar vekogt(1976; repr., The Hague: P.G. van Baalen, 1752) vol. 2, p. 288, no. 4.

Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters [...]. 9 vols. (London: Smith and Son, 1829-1842), vol. 4 (1833) p. 236, no. 54.

Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain: Being an Account of More than Forty Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Mss. Visited in 1854 and 1856, and Now for the First Time Described (London: John Murray, 1857) p. 342.

Havard, Henry. L'Art et les Artistes Hollandais, vol. 3. (Paris: 1880) p. 96.

Weale, W.H. James, and Jean Paul Richter. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures Belonging to the Earl of Northbrook. (London and Sydney: 1889) p. 200.

Hofstede de Groot, C. "Proeve eeener kritische bes ven het werk van Pieter de Hooch." Oud-Holland, vol. 10. (1892) p. 184, no. 48.

"The Bingham Mildmay Sale." The Magazine of Art. (1893) pp. 376, 379, ill.

Roberts, William. Memorials of Christie's. A Record of Art Sales from 1766 to 1896. 2 vols. (London: George Bell and Sons, 1897) vol. 2, p. 220.

Von Bode, Wilhelm. Rembrandt und seine Zeitgenossen. (Leipzig: 1906) p. 59; 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1934, pp. 83-84.

Wurzbach, A. von. Niederländische Künstlerlexikon, vol. 1. (1906) p. 717.

Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Edward G. Hawke, ed. and trans. 8 vols. (London: Macmillan and Co., 1908-1927), vol. 2 (1908) p. 479, no. 10.

Valentiner, Wilhelm R. "Die Ausstellung Hollandischer Gemälde in New York." Monatshefte für Kunstwissenschaft, vol. 3. (1910) p. 5.

de Rudder, A. Pieter de Hooch. (Brussels: 1913) no. 105.

Brière-Misme, Clotilde. "Un Pieter de Hooch inconnu au Musée de Lisbonne." Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 5th ser., vol. 4. (1921) pp. 340-44.

Brière-Misme, Clotilde. "Tableaux inédits ou peu connus de Pieter de Hooch (Deuxième article)." Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 5th ser., vol. 16. (July-August 1927) pp. 71-72.

Valentiner, Wilhelm R. "Pieter de Hooch, Part Two." Art in America, vol. 25, no. 2. (1927) p. 76, no. 9.

Art News. 27. (1929) no. 2, no. 5.

Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Pieter de Hooch. Des Meisters Gemälde in 180 Abbildungen. (Berlin and Leipzig: 1929) pp. 275-76, no. S.64.

Art News, 28, no. 8. (1930) p. 16.

Van Thienen, Fr. Pieter de Hooch. (Amsterdam: 1940) pp. 36-37.

Sutton, Peter C. Pieter de Hooch. (Oxford and Ithaca: 1980) p. 90, no. 48.

Durantini, Mary Frances. The Child in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting. (Ann Arbor: 1983) pp. 49-50.

Fredericksen, Burton B. "Recent Acquisitions of Paintings: The J. Paul Getty Museum." The Burlington Magazine 127, no. 985 (April 1985) p. 265, fig. 102.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985) p. 208, no. 134, repr.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986) p. 139, and fig. 200.

Reinewald, Chris. "Musea en Galeries in Amerika. Het Getty Museum: Een Romeinse villa aan de Pacific Coast." Tableau 9, no. 4 (February 1987) pp. 65, 67.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988) unpaginated, no. 26, ill.

Sutton, Peter C. "Recent Patterns of Public and Private Collecting of Dutch Art." In Great Dutch Paintings from America, exh. cat. Ben Broos, et al., eds. (The Hague: Mauritshuis, with Waanders, 1990) p. 107.

Hall, Nicholas H. J., ed. Colnaghi in America: A Survey to Commemorate the First Decade of Colnaghi New York (New York: Colnaghi, 1992) p. 130.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995) unpaginated, no. 27, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 61, ill.

van der Blom, Ad, Ernest Kurpershoek and Claudia Thunnissen. Nederlanse Schilderkunst: tussen detail en grandeur. Amsterdam: 1997. pp. 107-10.

Sampiero, Dominique. Femme buvant dans une cour: Pieter de Hooch. Paris: Flohic, 1999. p. 56.

Vergara, Alejandro in collaboration with Mariët Westermann. Vermeer y El Interior Holandés, exh. cat. (Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2003) pp. 49, 122, cat. 13, ill., 214.

Buvelot, Quentin, ed. Frans van Mieris 1635-1681, exh. cat. (The Hague: Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, 2005) p. 78, fig. 3b, ill.

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Loughman, John. "Domestic Bliss? Images of the Family and Home in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Art." In Images of Familial Intimacy in Eastern and Western Art. Nakamura Toshiharu, ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2014) pp. 80-90, fig. 3.7.

Toshiharu, Nakamura, ed. Images of Familial Intimacy in Eastern and Western Art (Leiden: Brill, 2014) p. xiii, fig. 3.7.

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