The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 3, 2024

Mother with Two Children

Mother with Two Children

c. 1855
(French, 1814–1889)
Paper: 23.1 x 16.5 cm (9 1/8 x 6 1/2 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

Frénet was one of the earliest photographers to take spontaneous, rather rigidly formal, portraits.


After anti-government political activity closed off his professional opportunities as a painter, Jean-Baptiste Frénet took up photography in 1850 and a decade later opened a commercial portrait studio. He preferred simple, plain settings and relied on sitters’ interactions to reveal their personalities and relationships. This family grouping, probably taken for personal pleasure, offers a sense of casual immediacy unusual for the time in both painted and photographic portraiture.
  • ?-2001
    (Charles Isaacs Photographs, Inc., New York, NY)
    March 5, 2001
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Cleveland Museum of Art, “Recent Acquisitions Press Release,” April 4, 2001, Cleveland Museum of Art Archives.
  • Cheating Death: Portrait Photography’s First Half Century. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (October 22, 2016-February 5, 2017).
  • {{cite web|title=Mother with Two Children|url=false|author=Jean-Baptist Frénet|year=c. 1855|access-date=03 March 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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