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Title Le Bonheur d'une Mère
Collection Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums
Artist Artz, David Adolf Constant (Dutch artist, 1837-1890)
Date 1869 (dated)
Signed yes

Inside a house, a mother sits with a sleeping child in her lap, resting her left foot on a stool. In front of her is a table, set for a meal. To the right, there is a window, through which the light is shining onto the mother and child, and the floor beyond them. Through the window, trees can be seen on the other side of a fence.

This painting is a modern interpretation of a traditional Dutch theme, which was developed by Hague School artists who went on to have an important influence on their Scottish contemporaries.

Current Accession Number ABDAG002208
Former Accession Number 01.1.6
Inscription front lr 'Artz Paris 1869'
Subject everyday life; interior; figure
Measurements 93.5 x 75.3 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Alexander and Mrs Macdonald 1901.
Provenance Commissioned from the artist by Alexander Macdonald and purchased for £50, 1869.
Principal Exhibitions Aberdeen, 1873, cat. no. 170; A Fashion For Holland, Perth Art Gallery, 1986, cat. no. 33.

See Catalogue of Particulars of Pictures at Kepplestone, handwritten by Alexander Macdonald (Aberdeen City Archives): 'Bonheur d'une Mère (The Mother's Joy) Adolph Artz Paris Now in the Hague A pupil of Jozef Israels £50 Paid 24th December 1869 Should keep value. Artz visited White at Aberdeen.'

See Alexander MacDonald Papers (Aberdeen City Archives): 'Woman with Child on Knee by A. Artz, Paris. Artz is a young Dutch artist, pupil of J. Israels and friend of Mollinger. I saw the picture begun in Spring of 1867, when I visited the Paris Exhibition with George Reid. Price £15 (was to be £12 but sent £15), met Mollinger in Paris for the last time before his death at this visit to Paris, (a present from my wife).'

David Artz concentrated on painting intimate interiors, often of mothers and their children, usually wearing traditional Dutch costume. When he went to study in Paris, where he shared lodgings in Montmartre with another young Dutch artist, Gerrit Mollinger, he took a trunk of Dutch clothes with him, and continued to paint his models wearing these costumes.

Before this painting was completed, the Aberdeen collector John Forbes White and his protégé the young artist George Reid, travelled to Paris to see the Salon and the Great International Exhibition. They called on Alexander Mollinger and David Artz. The four friends spent time together, visiting galleries and exhibitions.

Later the same year, White visited Artz again, this time accompanied by his wife, and arranged for Artz's pictures to come to Edinburgh for exhibition. He himself bought an oil painting of a mother and child and within a year had persuaded his friends James Walker and Alexander Macdonald to do likewise. Artz himself visited Scotland in May and June 1869, thus further cementing his already strong friendships with George Reid, John Forbes White and other Aberdeen collectors.

Rights Owner Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums
Author Jennifer Melville




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