Dutch realist painter Anton Mauve (1838-1888) was a member of the Hague School and a founder of the Hollandsche Teekenmaatschappij, an international art society that helped legitimize watercolor as its own art form. The artist spared no detail in his pastoral scenes, depicting the stunning beauty of the Dutch countryside and the difficulties of farm life.
Mauve was married to Vincent Van Gogh's cousin, and gave Van Gogh his first painting lessons in 1881. The two corresponded quite frequently, exchanging over 150 letters. Van Gogh adored Mauve for his abilities as a colorist, and Mauve lent the young artist money for a studio. From a letter Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo:
Yesterday I had a lesson from Mauve on drawing hands and faces, on keeping the paint layer thin. Mauve knows it all so well, and when he says something, he makes an effort and doesn’t just say something for the sake of saying it, well, I also make an effort to listen and take pains to put it into practice.
The frienship didn't last long, however. In 1882 Van Gogh started a relationship with a prostitute. Scholars believe that Mauve disapproved of the relationship. Soon after, the two were permanently estranged. Despite this, Van Gogh had fond memories of his first teacher and dedicated one of his canvases— a painting of a cherry blossom tree— to Mauve after his death.
See Mauve's painting "Untitled (Windmill)" in our collection.