About this artwork

This painting is uncharacteristic of Maris, both in subject and in the style it has been painted. The scene shows three men wearing turbans and two younger boys outside a café, where the blazing sunshine has created strong areas of light and shade. The three men hold long smoking pipes (‘hookahs’ in Arabic), and rest on a crumbling wall. It was almost certainly made during the years he spent in Paris, where the art dealers Goupil et Cie. commissioned Maris to copy works by some of their most prominent artists, such as Jean-Léon Gérôme and Hippolyte Bellangé. This painting’s orientalist theme and precise detail show the influence of Gérôme, but it might have been copied from a photograph. It has a sharpness and precision that is not normally associated with Maris’s style of painting.

  • title: Outside a Café
  • accession number: NG 1052
  • artist: Jacob MarisDutch (1837 - 1899)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Ethnicity
  • date created: About 1868
  • measurements: 28.00 x 21.50 cm (framed: 47.00 x 53.30 x 11.40 cm)
  • credit line: Bequest of Hugh A. Laird 1911
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Jacob Maris

Jacob Maris

Born in The Hague, Maris trained in Antwerp and Paris, where he was greatly influenced by the art of the Barbizon painters. Much of his early work consisted of domestic scenes of figures. When Jacob returned to his native town in the summer of 1871, he had turned his back on figurative painting to concentrate on landscapes. These he tackled with his distinctive bold style. Maris’s masterful ability to capture light and atmosphere is evident in the numerous paintings he made of the same scene in slightly varying conditions. He became one of the most important members of an influential group of painters collectively known as the 'Hague School'. Despite teaching only three formal pupils (including his brother Willem), Maris’s paintings exerted an enormous influence on a number of artists.