Maris, Matthew (1839-1917) by Scholes, Robert

Matthew Maris (1839 – 1917) Matthew Maris was one of three brothers (James and William were the others, or Jacob, Mattys, and Willem in the original Dutch) born in The Hague, Netherlands, to a printer who gave the boys pencil and paper when they were little and encouraged them to draw, after which they went to the Haagsche Teckenacademie for further instruction. The brothers were in Paris when the Franco-Prussian war broke out, and Matthew served in the French army without seeing action. After the war the brothers’ work was sold through the Goupil gallery in Montmartre. James was the best known of the three in the nineteenth century, selling a painting to C. H. Frick in new York, for example, but he died in 1899. Meanwhile, the British designer Daniel Cottier took an interest in Matthew’s work and persuaded him to move to London in the 1880s, where he settled in St. John’s Wood, staying in that part of London for some time. (The above information has been culled from The Brothers Maris, a book written by D. Croal Thomson and published in 1907, and Matthew Maris by Ernest D. Fridlander, published by Philip Lee Warner in 1921.) A painting by Matthew Maris was praised in extravagant terms by Charles St. John in his review the 1909 Royal Academy show in –This (unnamed) painting “makes us want to dance before it for joy. It is, of course, quite simple. A girl is filling her pitcher at a garden pump. The quality of the colour and surface is wonderfully beautiful, and with what a gentle, intimate charm it is inspired. It is amusing—and instructive—to study the “Academician” point of view by comparing this picture, twelve inches by ten, with the dreary wastes of paint hung in the larger rooms–say the hundred and thirty or so square feet of Daphneforia. Give us, please the Matthew Maris: of such is the kingdom of heaven.” The New Age (NA 4.14:289) In the famous “Armory Show” held in New York City in February 1913, Matthew Maris had four oil painting exhibited, all lent by James G. Shephard, none for sale.

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