Willem Maris returned to the same simple motifs time and again: cows at a pool, a few willows, the vague silhouette of a windmill on the horizon. Using these elements, he created with his brush a series of lyrical paintings unprecedented brilliance. In his work the Hague School finds its purest moment of art for art’s sake. When Maris was asked why he painted cows so often, he said that he didn’t paint cows but effects of light. Despite the apparent spontaneity of his paintings, Maris was always careful to produce a balanced composition, maintaining a constant equilibrium between light and dark. In this respect, his work resembles that of Anton Mauve, a good friend ever since his teenage years.

Source: J.Sillevis, R. Doorn, H. Kraan (eds.), De Haagse School: De collectie van het Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague 1988 and R. de Leeuw, J. Sillevis, Ch. Dumas (eds.), The Hague School: Dutch masters of the 19th century, The Hague 1983.


  • Title: Cows at evening
  • Creator: Willem Maris
  • Date Created: 1859 - 1910 (active)
  • framing: Decorated wood and plaster frame, partially gilded
  • Physical Dimensions: w1340 x h1053 cm (framed)
  • Alternate Title: Koeien bij avond
  • Type: paintings
  • Rights: Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, purchased with the support of Vereniging Rembrandt, 1964
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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