Motherhood: five Art Funded works

  • Published 21 March 2017

To mark Mother's Day, here are five works dealing with the subject of motherhood that we've helped fund over the years.

Mothers of Martyrs (Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography) by Newsha Tavakolian, 2006 © Newsha Tavakolian, courtesy Rose Issa

Mothers of Martyrs (Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography) by Newsha Tavakolian, 2006


© Newsha Tavakolian, courtesy Rose Issa


A Mother with Two Children by Alfred Edward Chalon

Edward Chalon, born in Geneva into a Huguenot family that settled in England at the time of the French Revolution, was well known for his small, sprightly portraits, chiefly in watercolour, which brilliantly capture the manners and fashions of the day. This charming painting was acquired in 1983 with our help for the Geffrye Museum of the Home in east London.


Mother and Child on a Couch by James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Whistler, an American artist working mainly in England, was a leading proponent of 'art for art's sake'. Acquired with our help in 1943, this delicate watercolour features a young mother wearing a pink dress lying on a couch, holding a naked child in her arms. Its affectionate portrayal of motherhood offers a contrast to another of Whistler's most famous paintings, a portrait of his own mother, called Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1, but often referred to as simply Whistler's Mother.


Mother and Child by the Sea by Johan Christian Dahl

This Romantic painting by Norwegian artist Johan Christian Dahl depicts a woman and child awaiting the return of a fishing boat from a moonlit coast. According to the artist himself, the boat contains a 'close relation', almost certainly the child's father. It's worth noting that Dahl's father was a fisherman. It was bought with our assistance in 2002.


Christ Taking Leave of his Mother by Albrecht Altdorfer

One of Altdorfer's most famous works, this painting exemplifies his pioneer approach to landscape and captures the strangeness associated with the art of Reformation Germany. Christ, accompanied by St. Peter and St. John the Evangelist, is implored by the holy women to delay his journey to Jerusalem and prevent his own death. Altdorfer equates humanity's earthly struggles with the rocky and arid foreground, upon which the Virgin swoons and the other holy women grieve.


Mothers of Martyrs by Newsha Tavakolian

Part of the Art Fund Collection of Middle Eastern Photography, an initiative to create a world-class capsule collection of major names and emerging talents in photography from the Middle East, Mothers of Martyrs is a poignant series of double portraits in which mothers hold framed portraits of their sons who died in the Iran-Iraq war. Some of the fallen soldiers look remarkably young, and as Tavakolian notes, the mothers 'are getting older, but their boys will always stay the same age.'

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