Matthijs Maris, the second of the three talented Maris siblings, was born in The Hague in 1839 and occupies a singular position within Dutch nineteenth century art.
After having studied at the Hague Drawing Academy for three years, Matthijs Maris was rewarded a grant by Queen Sophie and enrolled in the prestigious Antwerp Academy in 1855. Here he became inspired by the work of German artists such as L. Richter (1803-1884) and A. Rethel (1816-1859) and produced genre scenes in a characteristic lineair style.
Though strongly dependant on his elder brother, Matthijs was never influenced by the artistic developments of Jacob Maris or his Hague School contemporaries. Even when working outdoors in the artists colonies of Oosterbeek and Wolfheze in 1859-1861, Matthijs focussed on rendering an intangible reality and only used the surrounding nature as an expressive tool.
In 1861 Matthijs and Jacob undertook a journey to Germany, Switzerland and France that further aroused Matthijs' fascination for the German Romantics and provided him with a series of new artistic motives such as The Christening and The view of Lausanne.
In accordance with romantic taste, the artist also developed a keen interest in medieval culture and increasingly incorporated gothic architectural elements in his work.
The pictures Matthijs produced upon his return to Holland were however rejected by the general public. As a result the artist sustained from participating in exhibitions, became more and more reclusive and began nurturing a strong resentment against art-dealers.
The following years Matthijs lived a solitary life until he joined his brother Jacob in Paris in 1869. During his stay in the French capital, the artist was forced to support himself financially and started to paint on a regular basis again.
Though he loathed painting for commercial purposes, Matthijs executed some of his most succesful works during his Paris period.(Souvenir d'Amsterdam, Collection Rijksmuseum, Keukenmeisje, Rijksmuseum H.W. Mesdag, De Vlinders, The Burrel Collection)
By the late 1870's, Matthijs' work was arousing considerable interest in England and the artist was persuaded to settle in London by the art-dealer Daniel Cottier.
During their ten year period of collaboration, Matthijs however felt strongly restricted in his artistic freedom and expressed his resentment against the art-trade in various letters written to friends and family. In a letter adressed to Leopold Sickel (1862-1941) dated 28 March 1894 Matthijs writes about the foilbles of public taste and the hopelessness of a painter's career: "Public taste is a funny taste, worked by the dealers through the eyes of the client, both of them not caring a rap for the painters, nor their art, nor their mind" (T.B. Brumbaugh, A Matthijs Maris Correspondence, Oud Holland, 1981, no 95, p. 88-96.).
After breaking his ties with Cottier, Matthijs was supported financially by E.J. van Wisselingh and settled down in the London borough of Hampstead. The following years he fully withdrew from society and dedicated himself to painting mystical and fairy-tale-like visions of figures in landscapes with castle ruins. Eager to achieve the desired dream-like effect, Matthijs went over his work again and again and only applied transparant layers of grey paint or watercolour.
The present lot, in which a veiled bride is depicted standing in a winter landscape with mist obscuring a medieval castle on the horizon, exemplifies the artist's unique ability of capturing the intangible. By avoiding sharp contours and portraying the female figure by means of thin gleaming layers of grey and lilac, The Young Bride is shrouded in mystery and seems to be evoked from another world.