Jacob Maris (1837–1899), Dutch oil painter and watercolourist

Among the many Dutch artists, Maris started his interests in the arts during his teenage years. At the age of 19 he joined the Hague Academy of Art, in The Netherlands. During that period, he studied with Lawrence Alma-Tadema.

Maris was one of the founders of a group of artists from The Hague, who, influenced by the Realist school, used a color palette tending towards earthy and gray tones. A more neutral color palette constantly made the areas of light in the works stand out even more, creating an interesting aerial effect, especially where the sun cuts through the clouds, characteristic of the Dutch school at the time.

Although most of Maris’ works dealt with seascapes, woods and mills, some portraits of young girls were painted.

A brief comment: oil media is characteristic of greater stability and, above all, control over the canvas. There’s plenty of time for the artist to make whatever modifications he wants before it’s completely dry. This usually results in works that are more elaborate and complex in detail.

Below are some works by Maris in oil on canvas. Note that edges and lines are more defined, as are shadow and light regions. The planes are also more evident and separated from each other.

Jacob Maris – The Pet Goat (1871)

Jacob Maris, The Girl feeding her Bird in a Cage (1867)

The dimensions of the canvases are very small which makes it difficult to execute any details, even in oils.

Maris married Catharina Hendrika Horn in 1867 and had two daughters, Tine and Henriette. The two girls are represented in some of his works, but now using watercolor as a medium. The key frame shown below shows the two girls blowing bubbles. Notice how changing the paint medium makes the image more dynamic. Due to the rapid drying rate of this medium, the artist only has a few seconds to make adjustments and often the transition effects come from spontaneous and rapid blending between adjacent or rapidly overlapping layers. This more dynamic aura further suggests the instability the soap bubbles present in the work. Maris often places props like intense blue ribbons in the models’ hair.

Here, however, this more intense blue was reserved for the ceramic bowl on the table, creating an interesting focal point, intensifying even more with all the gray and brown present on the canvas. Probably this blue was made from Lapis-Lazuli, a very expensive pigment.

Jacob Maris – Two Girls Blowing Bubbles (1880)

A second appearance of his daughters is in the work below, where the eldest daughter appears to be teaching her sister to play the piano. Here, the dark brown of the wood contrasts even more with the blue ribbons present in the girls’ hair, which have now been painted more intensely. A much less saturated version of this blue is present on the bench and in the vase of flowers above the piano. You can almost hear this painting as they talk with each other about the piano—like you are there, watching them.

Jacob Maris, Two Girls, Daughters of the Artist at the Piano (1880)

The third painting depicting his youngest daughter was also done in watercolor, now in a lit external environment. The white of the white dress, the focal point stands out even more. The blue ribbon in her hair is still present, and a slightly more desaturated version is also present in the bouquet of flowers she holds. Everything is very light, loose and spontaneous, characteristic not only of the medium used, but also of the painting object itself and the plein air technique.

Jacob Maris – Young Girl (Artist’s Daughter) Picking Flowers in the Grass (1899?)

[Christian at Agapeta has made it known that he has an extensive collection of on-topic paintings that can be used in posts. So if anyone is interested in having a higher-resolution copy than what is found on this site, contact him. Also, he would be a good resource if you are interested in writing an article for Pigtails on a particular painter. -Ron]

Girls on Turtles

The first illustration in this article is Will O’The Wisp located at the end of the Colonnade Garden at Oakhurst in Muncie, Indiana. The sculpture shows a girl standing on the back of a snapping turtle. According to visitmuncie.org, the back of the shell is signed, “Edward Borse, Sc, Gorham Co., GFC Foundries.” The statue is owned by Ball State University. I am assuming that “Sc” is an abbreviation for “sculptor” and that Gorham Co. is the Gorham Manufacturing Company of Providence, Rhode Island. A will o’the wisp is a glow in the air over marshy ground that disappears when approached, and is used metaphorically to mean a goal that cannot be achieved.

Edward Berge – Will O’The Wisp (no date)

When I saw the photograph of this statue, I searched for more information about the statue or the sculptor, but could find nothing.  After this article was published I discovered that the attribution to Edward Borse is an error; the actual sculptor is Edward Berge.  The caption has been corrected.

Some general information about works of art with girls or women standing on turtles was found. Phidias (circa 480 – 420 BC) may have been the first sculptor to create a statue of a female standing on a turtle. His gold and ivory statue of the goddess Aphrodite depicts her with one foot on a small turtle. Plutarch (circa AD 46 – after 119) commented on the statue, and wrote that because a turtle is always at home in its shell, and has no voice, it represents the ideal woman who always remains at home and does not speak. Apparently Plutarch was not a feminist. This interpretation of the turtle is suspect because Aphrodite was a sexually adventurous goddess, the opposite of a quiet homebody. Others have speculated that the turtle may have been used sarcastically. I find the statue Aprodite with a small turtle under one foot reminiscent of statues of the Virgin Mary with a small serpent under one foot. Just as these statues of Mary represent her victory over the evil represented by the serpent, perhaps Phidias’ statue is meant to show Aphrodite crushing underfoot the stereotype for the “ideal woman” represented by the turtle.

Unknown – Illustration from On the Excellence of the Female Sex (1643)

Plutarch’s interpretation seems to have influenced later artists, and it is common to find depictions that were created during the Renaissance and later, through the 18th century, of women on turtles. The example shown here is an illustration from On the Excellence of the Female Sex by Johan van Beverwijck. Now it is obvious that the woman is not trampling on the turtle, but rather is riding it. In this illustration from 1643 the female on the turtle is still an adult, but in later examples of this motif it is usually a child on the turtle. Some modern statues show a boy on a turtle, but a girl is more common.

Beatrice Fenton – The Artist and Seaweed Fountain (circa 1920)

Beatrice Fenton – Seaweed Fountain at Brookgreen Gardens, South Carolina (circa 1920)

Seaweed Fountain by Beatrice Fenton is one of the most famous statues of a young girl on a turtle. Beatrice Fenton (1887 – 1983) was one of the outstanding American sculptors of the early 20th century. Fenton was awarded the George D. Widener Memorial Gold Medal in 1922 for Seaweed Fountain.  Mary Wilson Wallace was the model for Seaweed Fountain; she was six years old when she posed for it.

Unknown – Girl Standing on a Turtle (no date)

Girl Standing on a Turtle was for sale at the Chamberlain Auction Gallery in 2020. This 57-inch high bronze scupture is a fountain; water comes out of the shell the girl holds, and also out of the turtle’s mouth.

Unknown – Tortoise Shell Express (no date)

Tortoise Shell Express is a cast stone statue sold by Garden-Fountains. Strangely, the sculptor is not named. The girl stands on a land tortoise. Seaweed Fountain and Girl Standing on a Turtle are both sea turtles, and Will O’The Wisp is a fresh water snapping turtle. I cannot identify the species of turtle in Illustration from On the Excellence of the Female Sex, but apparently it makes no difference.

Oskar Bottoli – Mädchen auf einer Schildkröte (1954)

Mädchen auf einer Schildkröte is a stone sculpture by Oskar Bottoli and is on display in Vienna, Austria. The girl sits on a land tortoise.

Public Sculpture of Girls in Hungary

László Marton – Little Princess (1) (1972)

Public sculpture of girls in Hungary (Magyar Republic) has something of a family-oriented perspective. Little Princess (Kiskirálylány) by László Marton is a statue of the sculptor’s oldest daughter, Évike. Marton said,

I modeled it after my own daughter; she was maybe six years old and playing in the garden. She dressed as a princess: laid a bathrobe on her shoulders and put a [paper] crown on her head. I managed to capture this moment and immediately felt that this was a successful work of art. Years later, the capital requested a statue from me. I immediately thought of the “Little Princess'” and luckily we managed to find the place where the statue feels good.

László Marton – Little Princess (2) (1972)

Actually, there are several places in which this statue “feels good”. The original statuette is in the Hungarian National Gallery. The life-size copy shown in the photos here is on the Danube promenade in Budapest. Another copy is in the artist’s hometown of Tapolca, and yet another is in Japan, in front of the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Space cultural center’s concert hall.

Raffay Dávid – A Girl With Her Dog (1) (c2007)

The next statue, A Girl With Her Dog, is also in Budapest near Little Princess. A Girl With Her Dog was created by Raffay Dávid. Both of Raffay Dávid’s parents were sculptors, and Raffay has been sculpting since he was three years old. By the time he was 48 years old, in 2011, he was the father of five children. His affection for children seems to show in A Girl With Her Dog.

Raffay Dávid – A Girl With Her Dog (2) (c2007)

The next statue, Little Girl With Dog, is also a girl and dog, but I could not find out the name of the artist that created this piece. It stands in the city of Szeged.

Unknown Artist – Szeged Hungary Little Girl With Dog (unknown date)

The city of Esztergom is the site of the statue of children playing on a rail. I do not know the creator of this sculpture, nor could I find the title of the statue.

Unknown Artist – Esztergom, Hungary Children (unknown date)

Böjte Horváth István created War Memorial, the last sculpture in this article. It is a memorial to the veterans from Vácrátót who lost their lives in the two World Wars. Typical of Hungarian sculpture, it emphasizes the family. The wife, daughter, and infant child of the deceased veteran are shown, but the husband/father of them is missing.

Böjte Horváth István – Vácrátót War Memorial (2014)

Random Images: Emanuele Caroni

A reader shared this image presented in a Sotheby’s auction. Since Pip was more familiar with the use of mythological characters in art, I discovered that he had already given me the same lead a while back. You can see other angles to this sculpture using the link above.

Emanuele Caroni (b1826)  worked in Milan as the student of Vincenzo Vela and subsequently in Florence under Lorenzo Bartolini. He was politically involved in Italy’s 1848 struggle against the Austrians before settling permanently in Florence. The medium with which he showed exceptional skill was marble and a number of his works are now in prized collections. He combined the subject of a child with animals at least one other time in Triumph of Love over Force which depicts Cupid seated on a large, docile lion.

Emanuele Caroni – Leda and the Swan (1875)

In the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, Zeus, in the form of that majestic bird, either rapes or seduces Leda, and she was impregnated with twins. It is common with classical painters to depict Leda in mid-coitus with the swan (one of the few examples of classic art where it was permitted to do so) or with her four children, usually with the broken eggshells of Zeus’s offspring. According to Pip, Caroni’s choice to depict Leda as a prepubescent girl with the swan between her legs was unusual for the time and seems mildly shocking today. But it isn’t exactly unprecedented to depict Greek and Roman mythic characters as children, complete with sexual subtext that most people of the time period would have been familiar with.

The Most Kissed Girl in the World

There is a statue of a young girl and her geese that is a celebrated icon of a university town in Göttingen, Germany. There is a festival every year where she gets bedecked with flowers and kisses by local academics. I learned about this statue from an Atlas Obscura podcast. Apparently it is a custom for newly-minted PhDs to give her a kiss upon receiving their certificates and it is believed that this statue is therefore the “most kissed girl in the world”. There are plenty of images that can be found online.

Göttingen Goose Girl

Merry Christmas to all! -Ron

Random images: Virginie Demont-Breton

Virginie Élodie Marie Thérèse Demont-Breton (1859–1935) is a French genre painter. Daughter of the painter and engraver Jules Breton and niece of the painter Émile Breton, she married the painter Adrien Demont. They had three daughters, and one of them, Adrienne Ball-Demont, would become a painter and sculptor.

She had a precocious artistic career, exhibiting her paintings at the Salon des artistes français in 1880 and obtaining the gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in 1883, 1889 and 1900.

Her early works consist mainly of portraits and historical or mythological scenes in the academic style. After settling in the village of Wissant on the North Sea coast in 1890, she started painting the life of fishermen and their families, in a naturalistic style.

My first selection is one of her early works. At an auction at Sotheby’s, it has been estimated between US$40,000 and $60,000.

Virginie Demont-Breton - Une surprise (1879)

Virginie Demont-Breton – Une surprise (1879)

My second selection dates from the period when she moved to Wissant. It was also auctioned by Sotheby’s, being estimated between $30,000 and $40,000.

Virginie Demont-Breton - Fillette à la guirlande de fleurs des champs (c.1890)

Virginie Demont-Breton – Fillette à la guirlande de fleurs des champs (c.1890)

Virginie Demont-Breton was deeply committed to the recognition of women painters. She joined the Union des femmes peintres et sculpteurs in 1883, and was its president from 1895 to 1901. Together with the sculptor Hélène Bertaux, she obtained the official admission of women to the École des Beaux-Arts and their right to compete to the Prix de Rome.

Bruno Héroux

Louis Carl Bruno Héroux was born in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony in 1868. He began his study of art, specializing in woodcuts, at age 18. He finished his art education in 1892, and shortly after that he started work as a magazine illustrator. From 1900 on he was a freelance artist, and one of the most popular of the time for engravings and etchings. He illustrated the three-volume Handatlas of Human Anatomy by Werner Spalteholz (1913). Most of his illustrations are of adults, but a few of his pictures are of girls reviewed in this article.

Bruno Héroux – Ex Libris Anna von Zur Westen (circa1900)

Bruno Héroux – Ex Libris Toni Kruse (circa1910)

Bibliophiles in the early 20th century would often glue bookplates to the inside book cover to identify ownership. The first image is a bookplate for Anna von zur Westen. Look closely at the dark border around the girl and you will see grotesque faces. The border is quite a contrast to the happy girl in the sunshine.  The bookplate for Toni Kruse features both a young girl and an adult woman.  Note the faces of children playing musical instruments in the foliage above the woman and girl.

Bruno Héroux – Girl with Hat and Muff (circa1890)

Girl with Hat and Muff is one of the simpler Héroux illustrations. It is a little incongruous that she has a muff to warm her hands, yet is nude except for that and her hat. There is something around her feet, as if she had been wearing more clothing and removed her clothes. Girl with Hair Bow and Butterflies is another uncomplicated work. There is some handwriting on it, but I cannot read it. I can make out “EX L. verein Berlin” which I interpret as Berlin Ex Libris Club, and the artist’s signature “B. Héroux”, but nothing more. Can anyone help?

Bruno Héroux – Girl with Hair Bow and Butterflies (no date)

The next three images are greeting cards. Two are New Year’s cards, for 1907 and 1911, and one is a generic greeting card from 1920. Something is written on the card from 1920; can anybody read it? I can only make out the phrase “Gönner und Freunde”. A dog on the 1911 card has torn up the paper on which 1910 was printed. The writing on it is a New Year’s greeting to his patrons and friends, “für seine Gönner und Freunde Neujahre 1911 B Héroux.”

Bruno Héroux – Greeting Card (1920)

The 1907 card is also dedicated to patrons and friends with best wishes for the New Year. At first I was not sure if the child featured on the 1907 card was intended as a boy or a girl. After looking carefully, I believe it was intended to be a girl. The long flowing hair, the expression, and the hint of a wreath of flowers in the hair is more typical of Héroux’s girls.

Bruno Héroux – New Years Greeting (1911)

Huckepack (Piggyback) is an illustration from a 1911 German newspaper. It appeared under the poem Mai by Wilhelm von Scholz. Der Gold Käse (The Gold Cheese) is a strange title. I thought it may be the title of a children’s story, but I could find no story with that title.  If anybody can offer an explanation for this title, please submit a comment.  The boy in the picture looks like Alfred E. Neuman.

Bruno Héroux – New Years Greeting (1907)

Bruno Héroux – Huckepack (1911)

Elfe und Kröte (Elf and Toad) also appears to be an illustration for a fairy tale.

Bruno Héroux – Der Gold Käse (no date)

Bruno Héroux – Elfe und Kröte (no date)

Bruno Héroux’s personal and business card features a nude young girl. Héroux also featured a nude young girl on the visiting card he designed for Marie Schmidt. People today may find something offensive about a person who has an image of a naked girl on his card. Of course a lot of people today would find the nude little girls unacceptable on bookplates, greeting cards and newspaper illustrations as well.

Bruno Héroux – Business Card (no date)

Random Images: AK von Malmborg

AK von Malmborg is a self-taught Swedish artist who paints mostly large scale oil paintings but has utilized sonic media such as symphony orchestra, electronic opera, performance and has three full-length albums.

I paint what I dream, sometimes I dream the whole image at once and sometimes in installments.

The artist’s process is reportedly highly intuitive and multi-sensory, an organic approach that often results in a “messy consequence”.

AK von Malmborg – Amor Fati (2015)

Barbara Bradley, Queen of the Perkies and Cuties

Barbara Bradley was one of the most popular illustrators of the 20th century, but her name is not well-known by the general public. Artists recognize her as one of their profession’s greatest. She was born in 1927 and developed an interest in drawing while still a child. In a 2008 interview for femaleillustrators.blogspot she said that she was influenced by comic artists Hal Foster and Milton Caniff. She drew the illustrations for her high school yearbook. After high school she attended college for seven years, but did not get a degree. Later she was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Barbara Bradley – Polly Pigtails (1951 – 1957)

In the early 1950s she was working as a professional illustrator. Bradley was well-known for her illustrations in Polly Pigtails’ Magazine for Girls. Below are three of Barbara’s illustrations featuring Polly Pigtails and her dog. She said that the dog was one of her best models.

Barbara Bradley – Polly Pigtails (1953)

Barbara Bradley – Polly Pigtails (1950s)

Bradley also worked for the Merrill Publishing Company. Four of her cover illustrations for Merrill children’s books are shown below. The books were for both boys and girls, and so a typical cover illustration included children of both sexes. However, Bradley’s main interest throughout her career was to draw girls. Barbara Bradley referred to herself as “Queen of the Perkies and Cuties”.

Barbara Bradley – Read Write Count Color (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Busy as a Bee (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Sound and Say (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Bobby and Betsy’s Easy Coloring (circa 1950s)

Advertising illustrations were another important part of Barbara’s work. Below are two of her advertising drawings. The Carter’s ad has a boy, a girl, and a dog. Note how often Bradley has animals in her drawings. The other illustration is for a Dole’s Pineapple advertisement. The style is entirely different than her other drawings, proving Bradley to be a very versatile artist.

Barbara Bradley – Carter’s Advertisement (circa 1950s)

Barbara Bradley – Dole Pineapple Hawaiian Kids (circa 1970)

Barbara Bradley – Two Girls (date unkown)

Barbara Bradley – Two Girls and Two Boys (date unkown)

The next two illustrations show a helpful sister, and girls getting attention from boys. I thought these illustrations were particularly effective in evoking a mood. The last picture is the cover of her book, Drawing People. This book has been acclaimed by artists as one of the best instruction manuals for drawing the clothed figure. When Bradley began the book she went at it as a perfectionist. Then her granddaughter was born, and the book occupied a much lower priority. Her book was published in 2003, and Barbara passed away five years later.

Barbara Bradley – Drawing People Cover(2003)

Random Images: Yoshiaki Machino

Christian came across this image of a nude girl holding a falcon. Not much is known about Yoshiaki Machino except that he is Japanese and exhibits in only a couple of Japanese venues. Based on the titles of the exhibitions, the artist’s work focuses on girls, especially redheads. Unfortunately, I could not figure out the provenance of this particular image so it’s hard to say how recent it is. Machino seems to be a relative newcomer, only exhibiting in galleries since 2011.

Yoshiaki Machino – (Title Unknown) (Date Unknown)

Unusual compositions like this are very compelling. Both the nude girl and the falcon may be representative of the bridge between nature and civilization. The girl and the falcon are products of nature (especially in nude form), but both species become assimilated in civilized culture and begin to perform their roles in that capacity.

[20210728] Christian found another example which bolsters the idea that the nude virgin’s presence has a spiritual connotation. I also would not be averse to one of our readers doing a more complete post on this artist.