An exquisite work of art executed in oil on canvas by Cornelis Wouter Bouter, it is a quintessential representation of his oeuvre, which focused almost entirely on scenes of mothers with children and captured love and peace in the midst of poverty. The present example is noteworthy as being unusually large for Bouter; generally his larger paintings measured approximately 20" x 30" making this a particularly desirable and powerful scene for him. There is a deep complexity in the layered colors of the field and scene, every aspect of the work made up of a chaotic depth of colors that bring life and vividness to each element of the scene. The mother holds her youngest daughter on her lap, this young one totally focused on the doll in hand of her middle daughter. A kettle warms over coals of a small fire against the wall while the eldest daughter focuses on peeling vegetables for the evening meal. A single copper pot and mirror adorn the wall. His ability to use light to create emotion is effective and with his typical attention to even the smallest details, he treats areas of shadow with as much care as the brightest parts of the scene.
The scene is signed lower right Cor. Bouter in his typical signature.
Born in Gouda, Holland in 1888, Cornelis Wouter Bouter (reputedly born Cornelius Wouter Verschuur) specialized as a painter of Dutch interior scenes, most often depicting austere circumstances of countryside families and children. These he executed in the traditional manner of the Dutch artists, but he was highly specialized and outside of a handful of figural landscapes he almost exclusively focused on interior genre scenes, most often depicting a mother surrounded by her children for meal prep, teaching sewing or cooking skills, eating an evening meal or playing together. He lived and worked in The Hague until 1929, after which he moved to Voorburg through 1948 before returning to the Hague where he remained until his death in 1966. His work was well represented by art galleries internationally, particularly in the United States and Canada where he also spent some time traveling. In addition to using his name, Cornelis also painted under several pseudonyms including C. Verschuur, C. Hendriks and C. Willems.
Purchased at Kamp Galleries, Inc., Chicago, IL 2001 for $ 20,500 (discounted from $ 28,000) [original purchase invoice included with painting]
Private Collection, Chicago, IL 2001 to present
Further Reading & References:
E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol. II, Gründ, 2006, p. 1049-50 [biography, extensive auction records]
Popular 19th Century Paintings: A Dictionary of European Genre Painters, Hook & Poltimore, 1986, p. 511, p. 515 [depicting a single work by Bouter & listing]
Measurements: 36 5/8" H x 46 1/2" W x 2 1/4" D [frame]; 30 1/8" H x 40" W [canvas]
Condition Report: Relined. Contemporary frame with minor wear to gilding. Professionally conserved with green-hue of varnish obscuring examination of surface restoration under UV. Light surface craquelure throughout. Remaining in fine presentation-ready condition.