The National Gallery of Art has acquired Philip Wouwerman’s The Departure for the Hunt (ca. 1665–1668) with funds given by The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund in honor of retiring director Earl A. Powell III.
Information from the museum, 1 March 2019
Among the most elegant and accomplished of Wouwerman’s late works, The Departure for the Hunt depicts a party preparing for a falcon hunt in front of an elegant country estate. A master of narrative detail, Wouwerman filled the scene with lively vignettes of pages carrying falcons and bringing wine; a huntsman sounding the horn to signal the start of the event; and a merry company enjoying a peacock pie feast on the terrace above. Combining a subtle palette of browns with a striking blue sky and employing periodic accents of bright color throughout, the artist captured both the elegance of this aristocratic pastime as well as the majestic beauty of the countryside. Best known for his depictions of equestrian subjects, Wouwerman executed some 600 paintings over the course of a short career, spending his final years painting highly refined variations on the theme of the hunt.
Purchased with funds from The Lee and Juliet Folger Fund, in honor of Earl A. Powell III, Director of the National Gallery of Art (1992–2019), this painting is the second work by Wouwerman to enter the Gallery’s collection, joining Battle Scene (ca. 1645/1646).