By: Simon Maris (1873-1935)
Created: Circa 1920-1930, Collection: Drents Museum, Assen, Netherlands, Assen Rights: CC-BY-SA
The woman is standing in a very sophisticated position and is glancing at us over her shoulder. She is wearing a beautiful elegant blue gown. It could be she just came home from a fancy party. Maybe her lover sent her the bouquet standing on the table. After a long evening she is smoking a cigarette to relive the beautiful night. Or maybe it’s still early and she will only leave in an hour or two. The answer lies in her mysterious eyes.
Simon Maris was a traditional portrait painter and the oldest son of Willem Maris, the renowned painter of The Hague School. He went to the academy in The Hague from 1892 to 1895, after which he finished his training in Antwerp.
Maris travelled a lot through France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. Eventually he settled in Amsterdam, where his home was a meeting point for young artists, and became a much demanded portrait painter. His smooth and elegant style won high-level appreciation.
Though critics sometimes accused him of superficiality in his work, a lot of people liked his style. Maris had the most success with his paintings of elegant women and mothers with their children. Most of the time he used his own family members as sitters for these paintings. Maris probably chose this subject to paint because he knew that with other genres he wouldn’t be able to surpass the work of his father. Lady with Cigarette is one of Maris’s portrait paintings of the so-called elegant woman.