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From The Kentucky Encyclopedia –
One of the most influential artists of the American Realist movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Frank Duveneck was born in Covington, Kentucky, on October 9, 1848, to Francis and Catherine Decker. His father, a cobbler, died of cholera in 1849, and his mother married Squire Joseph Duveneck, a grocer and justice of the peace whose name the artist adopted. The artist was descended from the German settlers who came to the Cincinnati and northern Kentucky area from Westphalia.
Duveneck's early training came at the Institute of Catholic Art in Covington, which produced religious artwork for Roman Catholic churches in North America. Duveneck worked with the Benedictine brothers who ran the institute from the age of fourteen until his twenty-first birthday, when his stepfather agreed to finance his study at the Royal Academy in Munich. During 1870, his first year in Munich, Duveneck won every prize given by the academy. When his paintings were exhibited in Boston in 1875, they were praised in critical essays by Henry James in The Galaxy and The Nation in 1875, and Duveneck was called the "greatest genius of the American brush" by John Singer Sargent. In 1877 Duveneck returned to Europe to teach, first in Polling, Bavaria, and later in Italy, having at times as many as one hundred students enrolled in his classes.
Duveneck was strongly influenced by the Dutch artists Franz Hals and Rembrandt as well as the contemporary French Realists Gustave Courbet and Edouard Manet. Alex von Saldern, director of the Kunstmuseum Landeshauptstadt Dusseldorf, described Duveneck as "the bridge between European and American Realism." Duveneck's influence as a teacher is his most important contribution to American art. His students were to be found in almost every art school and academy in American in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and his influence on Realism as a style of painting was significant. He achieved the distinction of being one of the first Americans to teach large numbers of American painters in Europe. A painter's painter, he had an appeal to human interest that extended beyond the boundaries of the studio.
Frank Duveneck married Elizabeth Otis Lyman Boott in Paris, France, on March 25, 1886; they had one son, Frank Boott. Elizabeth is thought to have been the model for female figures in Henry James's novels, according to James's biographer Leon Edel. Following his wife's death, Duveneck returned to Covington, Kentucky, where he opened a studio on Greenup Street. He began teaching at the Cincinnati Art Academy in 1900 and became the director in 1904, a position he held until his death. He was one of the founders of the Cincinnati Art Club, where he gave painting demonstrations. In 1915 Duveneck won a gold medal at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco. He was awarded an honorable mention in sculpture in the Paris Salon of 1895, and as a printmaker, he ranked with James McNeil Abbott Whistler.
Following Duveneck's death in January 3, 1919, in Cincinnati, his works were acquired by most major museums in the Unites States and Europe. The largest collections of his paintings, sculptures, and prints are at the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Frank Duveneck Memorial Gallery in Covington, Kentucky. Duveneck was buried in the Mother of God Cemetery in Kenton County.
WILLIAM R. BOOTH, Entry Author
Selected Sources from UK Libraries:
Neuhaus, Robert. Unsuspected Genius : The Art and Life of Frank Duveneck. San Francisco: Bedford, 1987. Print.
ND 237 .D85 N4 1987, Fine Arts Library – Oversize
Quick, Michael., and Cincinnati Art Museum. An American Painter Abroad : Frank Duveneck's European Years. Cincinnati, Ohio: Cincinnati Art Museum, 1987. Print.
ND237.D85 A4 1987, Fine Arts Library
Duveneck, Josephine Whitney. Frank Duveneck: Painter-teacher. San Francisco: John Howell-, 1970. Print.
ND 237 .D85 D86, Fine Arts Library