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Cincinnati Art Museum presents Frank Duveneck: American Master, the first comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work in more than 30 years

10/9/2020 12:00:00 AM

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CINCINNATI—The Cincinnati Art Museum will present a major re-evaluation of the work of  , the most influential painter in Cincinnati history, from Dec. 18, 2020–March 28, 2021.

Through his brilliant and inspiring work as a painter and printmaker and as a charismatic teacher, Duveneck’s impact on the international art world of his time was substantial and enduring. More than 90 examples across media from the holdings of the museum, the leading repository of the Kentucky native’s work, and 35 pieces on loan from collections across the United States, will provide a fresh, in-depth look at this important artist.

Once Cincinnati’s most celebrated artist, Duveneck was born in Covington to Westphalian immigrants in 1848. He studied in Munich, Germany, where he became an influential teacher, and spent nearly two decades in Europe. His work reflected the impact not only of modern German art, as is widely acknowledged, but also French and Italian work. His paintings’ lack of finish and assertive brushwork parallel Impressionism, and his work as a printmaker positioned him centrally in the period’s etching revival.

A captivating educator of men and women, Duveneck counted John Henry Twachtman and Elizabeth Boott among his pupils and James Abbott McNeill Whistler among his collegial friends. Returning to the United States in 1888, Duveneck taught at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, where he became director of the faculty in 1905. As a mentor and esteemed advisor to collectors and the Cincinnati Art Museum staff, Duveneck’s impact on the Cincinnati art world remains unparalleled.

This is the first exhibition in 30 years to dive deep into Duveneck’s artistic development, his working methods, and the historical and social context of his subjects. Presenting abundant new research, the exhibition upends many common misconceptions and reveals the artist’s accomplishments across subjects and media, including oil paintings, drawings, watercolors, pastels, etchings, monotypes, and sculpture.

The paintings of streetwise kids and informal portraits for which he is renowned are accompanied by society portraits, Bavarian landscapes, Venetian harbor views, depictions of Italian city and country folk, renderings of the nude figure and more. A profusely illustrated catalogue published with D. Giles Ltd is available in the museum’s Gift Shop.

Dr. Julie Aronson, curator of American Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings at the Cincinnati Art Museum since 1999, has been working on the exhibition for several years.

“We are excited to celebrate Frank Duveneck with this exhibition that illuminates one of the unique strengths of the Cincinnati Art Museum’s collection: its deep concentration in the works of one of the towering figures of American art of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Side by side with our stunning Duveneck masterworks are key paintings on loan from across the country, presenting a fresh approach to the compelling story of one of our regional heroes. Duveneck’s bravura painting shines in this exhibition as never before!” said Aronson.

Duveneck: American Master was organized with the generous support of the Harold C. Schott Foundation. This exhibition is presented by Western & Southern and Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc., with additional support from the Wyeth Foundation for American Art, the Duveneck Association of the Cincinnati Art Museum, Mike and Sue West, and the Wohlgemuth Herschede Foundation.

The exhibition will be on view in our Western & Southern galleries (G232 & G233). Tickets for the exhibition are free for members and will soon be available for purchase by the general public at the Cincinnati Art Museum front desk and online at Photography without flash is encouraged. On social media, use the hashtag #CAMDuveneck

Elsewhere in the museum, Duveneck will be celebrated with a free display, Grand Experiment in Italy: Etchings by Duveneck and His Students, from Dec. 5, 2020–April 4, 2021 (G213). Curated by Cincinnati Art Museum’s Curator of Prints Kristin Spangenberg, the special feature showcases 18 rare etchings by Duveneck and his students, including a trial proof of The Riva, a previously unrecorded early etching by the artist in 1880.

In addition, Duveneck’s art in the Cincinnati Wing has been freshly installed with More Duveneck! Paintings from the Vault, which presents 35 paintings by the artist from the museum’s renowned collection, hung salon-style in the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation Gallery (G110).

About the Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum is supported by the generosity of individuals and businesses that give annually to ArtsWave. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Cincinnati Art Museum with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Cincinnati Art Museum gratefully acknowledges operating support from the City of Cincinnati, as well as our members.

Free general admission to the Cincinnati Art Museum is made possible by a gift from the Rosenthal Family Foundation. Special exhibition pricing may vary. Parking at the Cincinnati Art Museum is free.

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Image: Frank Duveneck (1848–1919), United States, He Lives by His Wits, 1878, oil on canvas, Collection of Gates Thornton Richards and Margaret Kyte Richards