"Born in Belgium, Bernard Pothast traveled to Paris to attend the "Ecole des Beaux Arts". There he studied under the artist Gabriel Ferrier. He also studied at the School of Reichsakad and later in Amsterdam under the artist Jules Alby.
Bernard Pothast enjoyed a successful career as a genre painter. His favorite subject was the peasant family. European painters of peasants in the nineteenth century found themselves heirs to the inheritance of idyllic literature, which set up certain stereotypes of rustic life. Pothast’s images depicted peasant mothers instructing or caring for their young children, placed in rustic interiors sparingly decorated with the family's humble possessions. Their interiors were typically illuminated by the light of early or midday sunshine.
These renderings charmed the newly rich industrial merchant, now living and working in urban surroundings, yet craving for the simplicity of country life. Pothast’s sentimental illustrations of peasant life were very popular during his lifetime, and remain so today." Excerpted from www.Askart.com