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Jacob Maris, A Young Woman nursing a Baby

Key facts
Full title A Young Woman nursing a Baby
Artist Jacob Maris
Artist dates 1837 - 1899
Date made 1868
Medium and support Oil on mahogany
Dimensions 29.1 × 22.8 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Presented by J.C.J. Drucker, 1910
Inventory number NG2709
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Young Woman nursing a Baby
Jacob Maris

Jacob Maris was a highly successful painter of Dutch landscapes, but he also painted interiors with people and genre subjects. This small intimate picture was painted in Paris, where he lived from 1865 until 1871.

The woman is almost certainly Maris’s wife. Their first child, Guillaume, was born in April 1868, but died in March 1869. A pencil study squared for transfer to the painting, which belonged to the Maris family, shows the child suckling – unlike the finished picture. In the painting, the woman’s right breast was originally uncovered, but was later painted over, although probably not by Maris.

Maris builds up the picture with smooth glazes, unlike the thick impasto paint of his later work. The pale skin tones of the woman and child direct our attention to their interaction. The delicate still life of flowers on the table perhaps shows the influence of Henri Fantin-Latour, whose work Maris would have seen In Paris.

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