Lovers by Harry Maas
30.5" x 33.5"
In this romantic depiction of two reclining figures, artist Harry Maas (1906–1982) demonstrates a mastery of the pastel medium. His use of gentle curves combined with the soft nature of the red chalk medium create a moment of quiet intimacy. The gentle gaze shared by the figures is echoed in the physical touch of their hands, placed on the knee of the right figure – they seem lost in the moment, unaware of the rest of the world. The figures seem at home in this setting, reclining on the faint outlines of a couch and blanket, with a mug placed on the floor next to the feet of the figure on the left. The minimal detail in the background provides only a glimpse of this setting however, as Maas has kept the focus on this shared moment. Maas was a prolific Netherlandish artist. He worked throughout the Netherlands and in a variety of mediums, including painting and watercolour. At least three other red chalk drawings are found in his oeuvre. His signature is found on the bottom right of the work, above the date of 1975.
At this time in the Netherlands, Amsterdam celebrated its 700th anniversary in 1975. The capital city originated as a small fishing village, located at a section of the Amstel river that had been dammed to control flooding in the 12th century. The name “Amstelledamme” first appeared in writing in a toll concession document, dated October 27, 1275. By the 17th century, Amsterdam had become one of the most important ports in the world, contributing to the country’s Dutch Golden Age. The city’s characteristic aesthetic also developed during this period. Today, the 17th-century canals are included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.