Jacob Marisartist • painter • watercolourist • draughtsmanDen Haag 1837-1899 Karlsbad (v/h Oostenrijk-Hongarije, nu Tsjechië)
biography of Jacobus Hendricus 'Jacob' Maris
Portrait of Jacobus Hendricus 'Jacob' Maris
Jacob Maris was born in 1837 as the oldest of the three Maris brothers. He must have been a calm and jovial person, a true connector, it is said. Only after twenty years of learning and experimenting did Jacob find the theme that would occupy him for the rest of his life and in which he would give the most spontaneous and daring interpretation of reality: the landscape.
Initially it seemed that he would become a figure painter. At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to the Hague genre painter J.A.B. Stroebel and soon took classes at the Hague academy. Huib van Hove then became his teacher. After lessons at the academy of Antwerp in 1859 and 1860 he was with his brother Matthijs in Oosterbeek, where they made nature studies. They also visited Barbizon. That the new approach to landscape painting attracted him is evident from the fact that he stayed in Oosterbeek again in 1864 and also visited Fontainebleau during a trip. In the spring of 1865, Jacob left for Paris, where he must have focused primarily on painting Italian folk types or 'Italiennes', which were loved and sold to England and the United States by the Paris art dealership Goupil. Connoisseurs then praised all his landscapes and village views on the water, and it is in Paris that he definitely opts for a career as a landscape painter.
In 1871 Jacob, forced by the Franco-German war, returned to The Hague with his wife and daughter and settled on Noord-West-Binnensingel. He again became a member of Pulchri Studio - where he was, among other things, a commissioner for the 'Cozy Meetings' - and co-founded the Hollandsche Teekenmaatschappij to promote the watercolor. From now on he developed into a powerful landscape painter. He painted rivers and canals, cityscapes on the water, windmills, beach scenes with bomb barges in a broad, self-assured touch that was admired by contemporaries. His brush stroke became more daring, his paint application more pasty and his palette consisted of subtly coordinated tones.
Maris developed a wonderful way of painting. It was written about his method that he applied the paint thickly and then masoned, rumbled and changed in the not yet dry layers of paint until a harmony of colors emerged. Then he finished the show with a thin brush stroke. It results in landscapes and cityscapes that are heavy in mood and atmosphere and the cityscapes are therefore rarely exact portraits but rather a combination of elements from different cities. There is plenty of room for high skies; Jacob was a master in painting impressive cloud scenes.
From the 1980s he made his breakthrough in the Netherlands and was now one of the most important and earning contemporary artists in the Netherlands. In 1899, at the height of his fame, he died. Through the Haagse Kunsthandel Goupil, much of his work was then sold abroad, where it is still part of museum collections in England, France, Canada and the United States.