Mother and Children (2)


Nancy Spero ( American, 1926 - 2009 )

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General Description

Mother and Children (2) is one of Nancy Spero’s earliest paintings, and belongs to a series of works referred to as the Paris Black Paintings. This series includes about thirty paintings and a dozen works on paper, which she executed while living in Paris in the late-1950s and 1960. Major themes include childbirth and relationships between lovers, parents, and children. Ethereal figures in this series are often obscured by a misty, murky haze.

This painting was created just after Spero’s second child (of three) was born in 1954. As a mother and artist, Spero found that she often only had time to work in the studio at night after the children went to bed. Spero stated: “They are paintings of the night revealing things that happen in the night. The darkness envelops the figures and gives them a sense of protection. These works were meant to be about isolation. The figures are related yet they are not. We are ultimately alone and isolated. I wanted to make an existential statement about the self.”

Adapted from

Jeffrey Grove, DMA Label text, 2012.

Web Resources

  • Tate
    Learn more about Nancy Spero's Paris Black Paintings and see another work from this period.