Happy Mother’s Day!

In celebration of maternal love, the Experiment Station takes a look at the figure of “mother” in art through a selection from the Phillips’s permanent collection.

painting of a woman sweeping a bedroom

Edouard Vuillard, Woman Sweeping, between 1899 and 1900. Oil on cardboard, 17 3/8 x 18 5/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1939

Despite trysts with a number of women, Edouard Vuillard‘s mother was the only woman he ever called his muse.

painting of the bust of a woman and child

Augustus Vincent Tack, Allegory – Love and Life (Mother and Child), ca. 1900-07. Oil on canvas mounted on hardboard, 25 x 24 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Acquired 1919; traded 1924; reacquired by 1959

In the lovely and soft painting above, Augustus Vincent Tack uses the portraits of a mother and child to embody the notions of Love and Life.

ink drawing of a mother nursing a child

Isamu Noguchi, Mother and Child, 1930. Ink on paper, 56 1/2 x 35 1/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Bequest of June P. Carey, 1983

In just a few simple strokes of ink on paper, Isamu Noguchi captures the intimacy between mother and child.

Two different works called Mother and Child by artist Max Weber

(left) Max Weber, Mother and Child, between 1916 and 1923. Lithograph overall: 8 3/4 in x 10 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of Diane and Norman Bernstein, 2006 (right) Max Weber, Mother and Child, ca. 1919-20, Woodcut print overall: 8 in x 5 1/2 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of Diane and Norman Bernstein, 2006

Max Weber approaches the relationship between mother and child from a number of angles—first through lithograph, then through woodcut—in his multiple renderings of the subject.

painting of a living room

Bonnie Harris, Memory of My Mother’s Parlor, not dated. Casein on paper, 13 1/2 x 20 7/8 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of Marilee Shapiro and Eleanor Harris, 1981

Bonnie Harris, who began painting at age 79, remembers her mother through a familiar and surely intimate setting—her parlor.

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