Portraits of "Mom" By The World’s Most Famous Artists. Thirty-Three Paintings.

Famous Artists Paint Their Mothers

In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to share one of my favorite original posts. Famous Artists Paint Their Mothers are thirty-three portraits of the female forebears of various respected and well-known painters. The portraits range from the 15th century to the present* – excluding paintings of The Madonna, arguably the most famous of all mothers.

Famous Artists Paint Their Mothers

Most artists, at one time or another, have painted a portrait of the woman from whose womb they sprang. Some are flattering, some are not and others are very personal or intimate — yet all are an homage to the parent whose role we celebrate today, Sunday, May 13th.

There are so many, I’d originally broken this up into two posts, but today I am featuring all of them in one post – paintings of artists’ mothers prior to the 20th century by the likes of Whistler, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Picasso as well as more recent homages to Mom by such artists as Rockwell, Wood, Hopper, Dali, Hockney, and Warhol.

A good place to start would be with the world’s most well-known “Mother” artwork, that of by James McNeill Whistler, painted in 1871:
James McNeill Whistler, Whistler's Mother 1871
above: James McNeill Whistler, Whistler’s Mother 1871, Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Now see how other famous artists paint their mothers. The following portraits are presented in chronological order from the earliest to the most recent. While it’s true that many of these artists painted multiple sittings of their mothers (e.g. Lautrec, Cassat, and Cezanne), I chose to share those I found to be the most compelling.

Albrecht Durer, portrait of Barbara Durere, the artist’s mother, 1490:
Albrecht Durer, portrait of Barbara Durere, the artist's mother, 1490
Guido Reni, Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, 1612:
Guido Reni, Portrait of the Artist's Mother, 1612
Rembrandt, Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, 1630:
Rembrandt, Portrait of the Artist's Mother, 1630
Sir Thomas Lawrence, Portrait (sketch) of Lucy Lawrence, the Artist’s mother, 1797:
Sir Thomas Lawrence, Portrait (sketch) of Lucy Lawrence, the Artist's mother, 1797
Alfred Rethel, portrait of the Artist’s Mother, 1836:
Alfred Rethel, portrait of the Artist's Mother, 1836
Camille Corot, Madame Corot, the Artist’s Mother, Born Marie-Francoise Oberson, 1838:
Camille Corot, Madame Corot, the Artist's Mother, Born Marie-Francoise Oberson, 1838
Pierre Renoir, Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, 1860:
Pierre Renoir, Portrait of the Artist's Mother, 1860
Paul Cezanne, Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, 1866-67:
Paul Cezanne, Portrait of the Artist's Mother, 1866-67
Mary Cassat, the Artist’s Mother reading Le Figaro, 1878:
Mary Cassat, the Artist's Mother reading Le Figaro, 1878
Edouard Manet, Mother in the garden at Bellevue, 1880:
Edouard Manet, Mother in the garden at Bellevue, 1880
Georges Seurat, Aquatint of the artist’s mother, 1883:
Georges Seurat, Aquatint of the artist's mother, 1883
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Countess Adele Zoe de Toulouse Lautrec, The Artist’s Mother, 1883:
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Countess Adele Zoe de Toulouse Lautrec, The Artist's Mother, 1883
Vincent Van Gogh, Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, October, 1888:
Vincent Van Gogh, Portrait of the Artist's Mother, October, 1888
Paul Gauguin, Portrait of Aline Gauguin (his mother), 1890:
Paul Gauguin, Portrait of Aline Gauguin (his mother), 1890:
Pablo Picasso, Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, 1896:
Pablo Picasso, Portrait of the Artist's Mother, 1896
Edvard Much, The Dead Mother (the artist’s mother died when he was five from tuberculosis), 1899:
Edvard Much, The Dead Mother (the artist's mother died when he was five from tuberculosis), 1899
Franz Marc, portrait of his mother, 1902:
Franz Marc, portrait of his mother, 1902
Georgio di Chirico, portrait of the artist’s mother, 1911:
Georgio di Chirico, portrait of the artist's mother, 1911
Egon Shiele, Mother Sleeping, 1911:
Egon Shiele, Mother Sleeping, 1911
Juan Gris, portrait of the artist’s mother, 1912:
Juan Gris, portrait of the artist's mother, 1912
Edward Hopper, Elizabeth Griffiths Smith Hopper, the artist’s mother, 1916:
Edward Hopper, Elizabeth Griffiths Smith Hopper, the artist's mother, 1916
Salvador Dali, portrait of the artist’s mother, 1920:
Salvador Dali, portrait of the artist's mother, 1920
Norman Rockwell’s Mother Tucking Children Into Bed (for which his mother Irene was the model), 1921:
 Norman Rockwell's Mother Tucking Children Into Bed (for which his mother Irene was the model), 1921
Grant Wood, Woman With Plants (his mother), 1929:
Grant Wood, Woman With Plants (his mother), 1929
Arshile Gorky, portrait of the artist’s mother, 1936:
Arshile Gorky, portrait of the artist's mother, 1936
William H. Johnson, Mom Alice, 1944:
William H. Johnson, Mom Alice, 1944
Alice Neel, My Mother, 1952:
Alice Neel, My Mother, 1952
Lucian Freud, The Painter’s Mother, 1973:
Lucian Freud, The Painter's Mother, 1973
Andy Warhol, silkscreen of his mother, Julia Warhola, 1974 :
Andy Warhol, silkscreen of his mother, Julia Warhola, 1974
David Hockney, Mum, 1985:
David Hockney, Mum, 1985
Daphne Todd, Last Portrait Of Mother, 2009:
Daphne Todd, Last Portrait Of Mother, 2009
David Kassan, portrait of the artist’s mother, 2010:
David Kassan, portrait of the artist's mother, 2010:

*You will note there are very few, if any, portraits artist’s mothers in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries because so much art at that time was dominated by religious paintings and portraits commissioned by the wealthy.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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