Art loves Mothers and at times it beautifully reflects and embraces the wide-ranging experience of motherhood. From joy, tenderness, playfulness, and hardship, mothers have been depicted in art countless times across all cultures. Sometimes they are goddesses, sometimes they are fighters and sometimes they are seen enjoying a tender moment; a sweet memory, from when their all-too-quickly-grown children were young.
With Motherhood as a staple in art, and Mother’s Day around the corner we could not help but think about art as the perfect mother’s day gift. The variety of Mother’s Day inspired art or art for Mothers that Martin Lawrence Galleries carries is extensive with a sure distinction to find the perfect artwork for Mother’s Day. Here at Martin Lawrence, we picked ten of our favorite artworks that make the perfect Mother’s Day gift.
10) Erté, Letter M
Letter M is a hand signed lithograph from Erté’s famous Alphabet Suite where he depicted each letter of the alphabet using the human form in various states of dishabille. Letter M speaks volumes about the fiery love within, and it is entirely fitting for a Mother’s day gift that reflects so many human emotions.
Erté, born Romain de Tirtoff, and considered the Father of Art Deco started working on the original Alphabet gouache suite in 1927 after a very successful exhibition at the Galerie Charpentier in Paris. The gallery had proposed another exhibition two years later for which Erte had planned to complete The Alphabet suite. Unfortunately, his contract with Harper’s Bazaar, three major spectacular productions, and several operas hindered his ability to finish the alphabet for the 1929 exhibition at Galerie Charpentier. The alphabet was completed 40 years latter just in time for a 1967 exhibition in London. Letter M is part of this magical suite and it reflects the artist’s own growth letter-by-letter.
9) Takashi Murakami, Flower Ball (3D) Sunflower
Bringing a new POP perspective to the traditional Mother’s Day flower Bouquet; Takashi Murakami’s Flower Ball (3D) Sunflower is an alternate Mother’s Day gift that transcends style and demands attention.
One of the most acclaimed artists to emerge from postwar Asia, Takashi Murakami—“The Warhol of Japan”—is known for his contemporary Pop synthesis of fine art and popular culture, particularly his use of a boldly graphic and colorful anime and manga cartoon style. Murakami became famous in the 1990s for his “Superflat” theory and for organizing the paradigmatic exhibition of that title, which linked the origins of contemporary Japanese visual culture to historical Japanese art. His output includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, animations, and collaborations with brands such as Louis Vuitton.
8) Keith Haring, Fertility #4
Among the many everyday situations playfully depicted by Keith Haring, there is also the topic of motherhood. In Haring’s works pregnant characters, holding their babies or playing with them, are always colorful and happy, sharing a unique love and strength; like Keith Haring’s art always does. Fertility #4 was created in 1983, as part of his Fertility series celebrating birth and mothers. Keith Haring remains one of the most important figures of the New York City street culture and his depiction of mothers and motherhood remains traditionally thought-provoking.
7) Robert Deyber, Home is Where the Heart Is
There is a lot to say about a Mother’s unique ability to make a house a home, and Deyber with his powerful visual narrative skills brilliantly captures words unspoken, by engaging our imagination. A 2007 hand-signed lithograph, Home is Where the Heart Is conveys a dreamlike quality to the bemused viewer.
6) Liudmila Kondakova, Champagne and Strawberries
Far from a traditional motherhood in art portrayal; Liudmila Kondakova’s Champagne and Strawberries speaks to mothers in a more whimsical level. A mix of Parisian architectural details, and a decadent depiction of relaxation against blue skies, this artwork is sure to take you visually away from everyday life and the challenge that can sometimes be motherhood. The poignant beauty that is Kondakova’s art, demands attention and looking into her scenes can be an enchanting experience that makes you relive moments and spaces through the artist’s eyes.
5) Erté, Motherhood
Throughout his ninety-seven year life Erté never ceased to astonish and he dramatically succeeded in several careers. At seventy-six he began creating lithographs and serigraphs whose popularity boosted him into a new higher orbit of fame and appreciation. Incredibly, a decade later, he launched a program of sculpture that proved equally successful. It is then, only fitting that he appears in our list more than once. “Motherhood” is cast in bronze and stamped with Erte’s signature of approval with an edition size of 462 making it one of the most unique Mother’s day gifts on the list. Originally a costume design entitled Une-Mer-Hereford for Les Idolesat the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris. Les Idoles was based on Greek mythology. Part of the Adoration of Women suite. Motherhood = Nurturing.
4) René Lalonde, Beauty of it All
Rene Lalonde’s the Beauty of It All is added to our list as a reminder of the extraordinary beauty of ordinary settings and moments. Blending the traditions of surrealism, cubism, and Fauvism, René Lalonde’s artwork approaches us with both the emotional force of vivid and unusual color, and the simplicity of flattened out planes, bringing the everyday to life with extraordinary intensity. Much like motherhood, his works are vibrant and intense, while providing a sense of calm, serenity, and at times easygoing buoyancy, leaving us wondering as to the nature of this paradoxical effect.
3) Robert Deyber, Bad Hare Day ( Whistler's Mother)
Robert Deyber’s surrealistic structure and visual depth made our list once more. His work consists of visual portrayals of clichés, euphemisms and idioms in the English language. His artwork makes a wonderful addition to any collection, and an eclectic Mother’s Day gift. In Bad Hare Day (Whistler’s Mother) Deyber, with his surrealistic style brings back a part of American art history by replicating in his own style Arrangement in Grey and Black #1 by James McNeill Whistler. The widely popular work of art is also known as Whistler’s Mother and it has become a visual icon in popular culture. It is said that Whistler’s mother acted as a replacement for another model who couldn’t make the appointment, and that she was too uncomfortable to pose standing for an extended period of time.
2) Pablo Picasso, The Mother Hen, (Histoire Naturelle–Texts de Buffon, B.345)
Pablo Picasso, the renowned 20th century artist and co-founder of the Cubist movement, has long been admired for the breadth of his artistic skill, encompassing painting, sculpting and ceramics, and his wide array of subject matter. One subject that the artist delved into extensively over the span of his career was the theme of motherhood. Picasso’s interpretation of motherhood includes the variance of style in his portrayal of maternity over several decades. Mother Hen is a 16 x 12 aquatint from 1942 and it tempestuously portrays the nurture and growth under a mothers watchful eye.
1) Marc Chagall, Mother and Centaur
In the captivating Mother and Centaur (Jacques Lassaigne, M.195) Chagall depicts Chiron, a greek centaur considered a father figure to many of god’s children looking over a mother and her child. Chiron is highlighted in brilliant shades of blue which meander from deep blue to sky blue while playing an instrument. The curved images give both Chiron and the Mother the grace and motion, for a balanced lively composition. Created in 1957 this hand-signed lithograph makes for an unforgettable gift for Mother’s Day.