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 Nicolaes Maes  (1634 - 1693)

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Lived/Active: Netherlands      Known for: Genre painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Nicolaes Maes
1634 (Dordrecht, Holland)
1693 (Amsterdam)


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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Nicolaes Maes, Dutch   1634 – 1693

Nicolaes Maes was born in Dordrecht, Holland.  His first lessons in art were under a mediocre painter whom he left in 1650 for the studio of Rembrandt where he remained for four years.

From about 1653 until his return to Holland in 1673, Maes lived in Dordrecht.  There he adopted the popular and Flemish style of the time which emphasized colors and ornate forms.  The artist finally settled in Amsterdam where he spent the remainder of his life.

Houbraken, a biographer of the time, states of Maes that “he was quiet and courteous in manner, that he enjoyed society and entertaining, and was of a cheerful and happy disposition until the last year of his life, when he suffered much from the gout, of which trouble he died, in 1693.”

The artist was best known for his genre pieces – his earliest ones – which show a tendency towards the sentimental, and represent simple scenes of humble peasant life.  Yet from a popular and financial viewpoint, he was a portrait painter whose secret of success was in flattery.  Maes was most adept at observing traits of childhood and presenting them so delightfully in his art.  He also created an image of status, prosperity and elegance by use of fabrics and jewelry.  But it was his quality of presenting distinct personalities by subtleties of expression and character that most pleased his subjects.

Biography excerpted from the unpublished catalog by Edward P. Bentley for the Haussner Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, titled: Haussner’s, The Children.

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