Anton Mauve: The Realist Painter of Evocative Landscapes
Capturing the rural beauty of Netherlands by depicting people and animals in outdoor settings such dunes, meadows and beaches with an unconventional detail and a tender lyric harmony, the Dutch Romantic painter, Anthonij (Anton) Rudolf Mauve, is famous for his evocative landscapes painted in light and silvery tones.
One of the leading artists of The Hague School, Mauve was born on September 18, 1838, in Zaandam, a town in Dutch province of North Holland. At 16, he went to Haarlem where he was apprenticed to Pieter Frederick van Os, a specialist in painting cattle, followed by Wouter Verschuur, who painted horses. Later he worked with Paul Gabriel and often went into the country to paint nature. At twenty he started visiting Oosterbeek, a village that attracted many artists.
About 1870, Mauve settled at The Hague and took a studio, painting in the neighboring fishing village of Scheveningen. There he became part of a group of artists known as The Hague School, whose members specialized in representing landscapes and scenes of rural life in the Netherlands. Instrumental in founding the Hollandsche Teekenmaatschappij, an international art society in 1876, Mauve also played a leading role in the development of the Pulchri Studio, The Hague's most influential art society.
Mauve's sincere and modest spirit made a deep impression on Vincent van Gogh, who was a cousin of his wife. At the end of 1881, van Gogh spent sometime at Mauve's studio and made his first experiments in paintings under Mauve's tutelage.
In 1882, Mauve began visiting the country at Laren, near Hilversum, and eventually moving there in 1885. Here he brought together a group of landscape painters who came to be known as the “Dutch Barbizon”. The region was later dubbed ‘Mauve land' as far afield as the United States.
By the end of 1880s, Mauve's work was widely known and sought after by collectors in Holland and abroad. His landscapes with sheep were especially popular in America; interestingly, a distinction was made between ‘sheep coming' and the slightly less expensive ‘sheep going'.
Influenced by the French landscape painter Camille Corot and the Barbizon School, Mauve's pictures are subdued in colors and like those of Corot in their harmonies of grey and blue. His major pictures include “Cows in Meadow” and “Dune Landscape” A prolific and popular artist and an accomplished watercolorist, Mauve is represented in many museums in the Netherlands and elsewhere.
At 49, Mauve died suddenly in Arnhem on February 5, 1888.