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Mother with Children Returning Home, 1863

Leopold Museum,
Oil on wood
53×41.7 cm


  • Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller

    (Vienna 1793–1865 Hinterbrühl near Mödling)

Unfortunately not on display at the moment
The oil painting Mother with Children Returning Home by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller (1793–1865) seeks to produce a great effect in the viewer: The very fact that beholders have to think of themselves as observing the scene from within a dark, squalid cottage, whose open door frames the central theme and reveals a brightly lit landscape, invests the rendering with a surprising vantage point. Surrounded by children competing for her attention, laden with hay and her youngest child on her back, the mother is crossing the threshold. She is coming directly towards the beholder, a smile on her lips, while the well-nourished child above her head is also smiling and looking straight at us. Intended for wealthy city dwellers, Waldmüller’s painting, which was created in the last phase of Biedermeier painting in 1863, shows a pleasing idealization of the rural population’s hardships which has to be mistrusted.

Object data

  • Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller
Mother with Children Returning Home
Art movement
Oil on wood
53×41.7 cm
Signed and dated lower right: Waldmüller 1863
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 636
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Rupert Feuchtmüller: Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller 1793-1865. Leben – Schriften – Werke, Wien 1996.
Catalogue raisonne
  • Feuchtmüller 1996: 1078

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Provenance research
Leopold Museum i

Auktion: 24.03.1920, Ernst-Museum, Budapest, 11. Kunstauktion, Los Nr. 495
Gerstenberger, Chemnitz (1927); (1)
Dr. Rudolf Leopold, Wien (vor 1990-1994); (2)
Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung, Wien (seit 1994).

  1. Rupert Feuchtmüller, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller 1793-1865, Leben-Schriften-Werke, Wien 1996, S. 525, Nr. 1078
  2. Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller, Wien 1990, S. 249, Nr. 125 (Abb. S. 224)

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