Dose of Art #188: Anton Mauve – The Return of the Flock, Laren (c. 1886-1887)

The Return of the Flock shows all the elements Mauve loved; animals, people and the Dutch landscape. As noted in a previous post, his sheep paintings were very popular in the United States (this one belongs to the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art), so much so there even was a difference in price between his sheep coming and sheep going.


As the detail of this little lamb shows. Mauve used monochromatic tones, yet the painting as a whole paints a realistic picture of the heather as it still can be found around Laren on an early spring day.


The lonely shepherd is leading the flocking. Mauve’s people are almost always anonymous either because they are turned away from us -like this man- or because they are tugged in to protect them from the cold and rain.