MARIS, Willem
(b. 1844, Den Haag, d. 1910, Den Haag)


Dutch painter, part of a family of painters, brother of Jacob Maris. He received his training as a painter from his brothers, Jacob Maris and Matthijs Maris. Although he briefly attended evening classes at the Academie in The Hague and was advised by the animal painter Pieter Stortenbeker (1828-1898), he was basically self-taught; he was the only 'self-made' man in the circle of Hague School artists. In 1862 he visited Oosterbeek where he met Anton Mauve, with whom he established a long friendship. In the same year he first entered a painting, Cows on the Heath (untraced), in the Tentoonstellung van Levende Meesters [Exhibition of Living Masters] in Rotterdam. The themes of cows at pasture and ducks by the side of a ditch, which characterized the Dutch polder landscape in summer, became his hallmark. In the following year he exhibited Cows by a Pool (The Hague, Gemeentemuseum) in The Hague; it received discouraging reviews, as did the picture entered by his brother Matthijs. Painted in 1863, this work already employs Willem's main motif and shows his attention to the handling of light (with effects of haze and backlighting).

He traveled with Blommers in the Rhineland in 1865-66. From 1869 he lived in The Hague. Willem was the most realistic of the three brothers, and his landscape paintings, reminiscent of Corot, were well received, particularly in Britain and America.

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