The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Marcel Guicheteau.
In September 1888, Sérusier met Paul Gauguin at Pont-Aven and under his influence began to experiment with a new style of painting in which simple forms and flat colours were chosen for emotional rather than descriptive reasons. Gauguin encouraged Sérusier to paint with pure colour and to exaggerate his impressions in order to achieve pictorial coherence in his work. These early experiments of 1888 resulted in Sérusier taking back to Paris a small panel entitled Le Talisman (G.2, Musée d'Orsay, Paris) which provoked much discussion when he unveiled it to his fellow students at the Académie Julian. In explaining this work, Sérusier 'conveyed to his friends Gauguin's "message" that instead of copying nature as one perceived it, one should represent it, transmute it into a play of vivid colors, emphasizing simple, expressive, original arabesques for the pleasure of the eye' (J. Rewald, Post-Impressionism from Van Gogh to Gauguin, New York, 1956, p. 275). Those young artists who applauded Sérusier's synthetisme or cloisonnisme as they alternately called it - Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, Vallotton and Ranson - began to form a separate group who called themselves after the Hebrew word for prophet, Nabis.
Sérusier returned to Brittany for the next few summers, working alongside Gauguin, Bernard and Meyer de Haan and becoming a pivotal member of the school of Pont-Aven. Pont-Aven and nearby Le Pouldu represented for these artists a dramatic visual contrast to Paris. The Breton culture and way of life was quite distinctive in its unspoilt, timeless tranquillity and Sérusier and his colleagues delighted in the beauty and simplicity of life in the region, often depicting the daily activities of the peasants in their compositions. Mère et enfant dans un paysage breton perfectly displays Sérusier's preoccupation with this rich source of visual material, while his almost daring abstraction of landscape, with its flat composition and sense of undulating movement throughout the composition call to mind Gauguin's work of this time, particularly such works as Les alyscamps of 1888 (W.307, Musée d'Orsay, Paris) or Les saules of 1889 (W.357, Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo).