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Anton Mauve

The Cowherd


Anton Mauve
Zaandam, Netherlands, 1838 – Arnhem 1888


The Cowherd


About 1875-1880


Oil on panel


22.9 x 38.1 cm


William John and Agnes Learmont Bequest, inv. 1909.574


Western Art

The Cowherd is characteristic of Anton Mauve’s ability to evoke the serene atmosphere and stillness of a Dutch polder landscape – with its low-lying land reclaimed from the sea – where the main focus is set on the harmonious relationship between peasant and herd. The cows align with the horizon, and only the silhouette of the leafless trees stands out from the dark, grey sky. Centred in the picture plane, the cows and the cowherd close off the view into the distance – a device typical of The Hague School landscape painting – and imbue the scene with the intimacy between human and animal for which Mauve became famous. Mauve’s paintings sold well abroad, mainly in Scotland, England and the United States, and were to the tastes of early Montreal art collectors.

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