Jacob Hendricus Maris was a landscape and genre painter and watercolourist. He was the brother of the painters Matthijs and Willem Maris
Maris initially apprenticed with Johannes Stroebel before studying at the Academie in The Hague under Huib van Hove and in Antwerp at the Academie there. In 1855 he shared a workshop and house in Antwerp with his brother Matthijs and, for a short time, Laurens Alma-Tadema. His early work was influenced by Dutch seventeenth century genre paintings.
In 1859 and 1860 in the Hague William I's daughter, Marianne of Orange Nassau, Princess of Prussia, commissioned the two Maris brothers to make copies of portraits of the Orange-Nassau family. In 1865 Jacob Maris was in Paris where he collaborated with Adolphe Artz and worked in the studio of Ernest Hébert. He also visited Barbizon and Fontainebleau and his work began to evince the style of Barbizon painters such as Camille Corot. In 1871 he returned to The Hague where his landscapes and townscapes became more vigorous in style. Along with Jozef Israëls and Anton Mauve he became one of the key figures of the Hague school. His pupils included his younger brother Willem Maris, Willem de Zwart and Bernard Blommers.
Maris exhibited in London at the Royal Academy, Fine Art Society, Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery, Arthur Tooth and Sons Gallery and Goupil Gallery. He also exhibited in Britain at the Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Royal Scottish Academy, Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham and Manchester City Art Gallery. He also exhibited in Paris at the second show of the Society of French Painters-Engravers on 6-26 March 1890.