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Thérèse Schwartze

Mother and Her Children in Church

Artist

Thérèse Schwartze
Amsterdam 1851 – Amsterdam 1918

Title

Mother and Her Children in Church

Date

1886

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

195.6 x 139.7 cm

Credits

Gift of Lord Strathcona and family, inv. 1927.397

Collection

Western Art

Schwartze trained in Munich with Max and de Piloty, and studied in Paris under Henner. She was a regular exhibitor at the Salon, and two of her paintings were among the Dutch contribution to the 1900 Paris World’s Fair. Despite her obscurity today, Schwartze is clearly an artist of some merit. This is a highly competent and sensitive genre painting that reflects the influence of current trends in French Academic painting and of her Hague School contemporary Israëls. Both touching and unaffected, the grouping of this peasant woman seated with her three children is shown discretely waiting against the church’s back wall (defined by a bulletin dated February 1886, where the word “poor” is legible) – doubtlessly an appeal for charity. Schwartze knew Bouguereau’s work but her painting is closer to the unaffected spirit of the Dutch genre, which presents a frank portrait of the daily life of ordinary people. Although scenes of needy mothers and orphans dominated her work in the 1880s, later in her career, she followed in her father’s footsteps and became a portraitist.

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