Frank Duveneck, one of America’s most famous artist-teachers, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio to German immigrants in 1848. Duveneck worked as an apprentice to two church decorators during his early years in Cincinnati; in 1870 he made a transatlantic trip to study at the Royal Academy in Munich. Here, the artist studied Old Master works primarily under the direction of Wilhelm Diez. Duveneck flourished at the school and developed a painterly style in his portraits with many hallmarks of Old Master paintings. In 1873, the artist returned to Cincinnati where he briefly taught at the Ohio Mechanics Institute. Two years later he returned to Munich and eventually traveled to Paris and Venice where he painted landscapes and genre scenes with William Merritt Chase and John H. Twachtman (one of Duveneck’s student from Cincinnati).
In 1878, Duveneck began teaching his own classes in Munich; some of his students were called “The Duveneck Boys,” and many including Twachtman and Joseph DeCamp, became famous painters as well. Duveneck continued to travel throughout Europe and especially in Italy. In 1886 he wed former student and artist Elizabeth Boott; however, their happiness was cut short when Elizabeth succumbed to pneumonia just two years later. Following Elizabeth’s death, Duveneck returned to Ohio, where he continued to teach; in 1905 he became the dean of the Cincinnati Art Academy. Duveneck bequeathed his collection to the Cincinnati Art Museum upon his death in 1919. During his lifetime, Duveneck exhibited his works worldwide at venues including the National Academy of Design, Columbian Exposition of 1893, Paris Salon, Pan American Exposition, Royal Academy, Berlin, Corcoran Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago, and with the Society of Painter-Etchers, London. His works can now be seen at the National Gallery of Art, Montclair Art Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts among others.
Carr, Carolyn Kinder. “Duveneck, Frank.” In Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, Oxford Art (accessed January 28, 2011).
Falk, Peter Hastings, ed. Who Was Who in American Art 1564-1975: 400 Years of Artists in America. Madison, Conn.: Sound View Press, 1999.
Keny, James. “Frank Duveneck.” Butler Art (accessed January 28, 2011).