About This Artwork

Julius Gari Melchers
American, 1860–1932

Mother and Child, c. 1906

Oil on canvas
63.5 x 54.3 cm (25 x 21 3/8 in.)
Signed: G. Melchers

Gift of James Deering, 1925.704

Although Paris was the major destination for American expatriate artists during the Gilded Age, other cosmopolitan centers were equally important. Gari Melchers studied in Düsseldorf and Paris before founding an art colony in 1884 in Egmond aan Zee, Holland, with fellow expatriate George Hitchcock. Inspired by contemporary Dutch painters of the Hague School, Melchers specialized in naturalistic depictions of peasant life, including this sympathetic portrait of a young Dutch woman and her child. Melchers portrayed the pair with vivid intensity, contrasting the woman’s direct gaze with the charming appeal of the baby’s chubby face. The rapid brushwork used to render the clothing and the swaddling blanket contributes to the freshness of his depiction. In 1906 Melchers exhibited this painting at both the Paris Salon and the Art Institute.

—Permanent collecctio label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Paris, Annual Salon, 1906.

Art Institute of Chicago, "Nineteenth Annual Exhibition of Oil Paintings and Sculpture by American Artists," October 16-November 29, 1906, no. 218.

San Francisco, Department of Fine Arts, "Panama-Pacific International Exposition," February 20-December 4, 1915, no. 2564.

Washington DC, Corcoran Gallery of Art, "Paintings by Gari Melchers," February 2-March 3, 1918, no. 18.

New York, Montross Gallery, "Exhibition of Pictures by Gari Melchers, Figures and Landscapes," January 10-31, 1920, no. 5.

Detroit Institute of Arts, "Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings by Gari Melchers," October 1927, no. 10. (ill.)

Buffalo, Albright Art Gallery, "Exhibition of a Retrospective Collection of Paintings Representing the Life Work of Gari Melchers," no. 7. (ill.)

Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, "Paintings by Gari Melchers, Thomas J. Mitchell, and Thurty Cleveland Artists," March 13-April 20, 1930, no. 4; traveled to Dayton Art Institute, April 25-May 24, 1930.

Art Institute of Chicago, "A Century of Progress," June 1-November 1, 1933, no. 468.

Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, "A Memorial Exhibition of the Work of Gari Melchers," January 11-February 18, 1934, no. 14. (ill.)

Art Institute of Chicago, "A Century of Progress," June 1-November 1, 1934, no. 401.

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, January 17-February 28, 1938, no. 59. (ill.)

Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, "Survey of American Painting," October 24-December 15, 1940, no. 192. (ill.)

Milwaukee Art Institute, "The Story of Medicine in Art," September 11-October 25, 1953, no. 195.

Madison Art Center, "Exhibition of Traditional Paintings from the Art Institute," March 1956.

Fredericksburg, Virginia, Belmont, the Gari Melchers Memorial Gallery, Gari Melchers Spotlight Exhibition, March 1-December 15, 2008, no cat.

Interpretive Resources

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