Willem Maris attended evening classes at the Royal Academy in The Hague. He also received advice from the animal painter Pieter Stortenbeker (1828-1898), but was mostly self-taught. In 1862 Maris visited Oosterbeek where he met Anton Mauve, and they became close friends. In 1863 Maris shared a studio with his brothers in The Hague, and in 1864-5 he travelled along the Rhine. Unlike his brothers, Maris did not travel abroad regularly, but worked in and around The Hague for most of his life. Throughout his career Maris tended to choose the same motifs, typically ducks by a pond or cows grazing in a meadow. His early works are very detailed, but in the 1880s Maris’s painting style became broader and he exchanged grey tones for a warmer palette.