Saturday, January 5, 2019

Remembering Frank Duveneck

Frank Duveneck (October 9, 1848 – January 3, 1919) painted this oil portrait of a fellow artist. 

The portrait has some animation in the mouth and eyes, as if the subject was talking. The portrait is essentially made up of spots of tone, almost like pixels. But under the strokes is a careful arrangement of tone and edges, gradating down from the light area on the forehead.

A few days ago (January 3) marked the 100th anniversary of his death. Artists in Cincinnati, such as Linda Crank, Carl Samson, Jeff Morrow, and Richard Luschek, went through a scrapbook of Duveneck's paintings at the Mother of God Cemetery in Fort Wright Covington, Kentucky.

(Link to video) There were other commemorations at the Cincinnati Art Museum, including a group of artists doing master copies of Duveneck originals. Read more at Linda Crank's Facebook page.


Jim Douglas said...

Jim, do you have any tips on creating soft edges in oil paintings? I know you can start with a hard edge and then go back and soften it. But what are some methods to create a soft edge from the start?

In the above portrait by Duveneck, for example, the edge of the sitter's left earlobe is almost entirely lost against the background. How would you try to create an edge like that?

James Gurney said...

Jim, it's a little hard to describe, but you can drag two colors, one on each side of the brush as you travel down the edge. Alternately you can use a fan brush and sweep lightly. Fan brush

Brer Briar said...

Hi Jim! Thanks for the Duveneck mention. We Northern Kentuckians are very proud of him. But Mother of God Cemetery is in Covington (where he was born), not Ft. Wright. Have lots of relatives buried there!
Larry Memering

Linda Crank said...

Thank you so much, James, for posting about this. It was a very meaningful morning, standing by his graveside, going through Duveneck's scrapbook of other artists' pictures that had served as an inspiration for him, listening to thoughtful comments from Carl Samson, and reading a heartfelt speech given by one of his students at his funeral. I hope that it may also inspire others to honor one of their favorite artists that have passed on.

I apologize, Brer, for the location problem. It's listed online as being in Fort Wright, Latonia, Covington, and I think one more place, so while I'm able to drive there from Cincinnati, it was confusing to know just what city it was officially in! I know Covington is very proud - as it should be - of its history, and I appreciate that.

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Linda and Brer. I updated the location of the cemetery. And Linda, what a good idea to arrange such memorials (and to get them covered by the news media). Word to the wise: artists who died in 1919 include Carl Larsson and Franz Metzner.

Daroo said...

Cincinnati had a large German community so Duveneck went to Munich to study painting where the main influence was 17th century masters Franz Hals and Diego Velasquez. Back in Cincinnati, Duveneck became a teacher -- among his students were John Twatchtman and Kenyon Cox. Cox went on to help found the Arts Students League.

Richard J. Luschek II said...

Thanks James for this post on Duveneck and our trip to his monument.
A bit more about the book we were looking through. Carl Samson had recently stumbled upon it at his studio. Carl currently paints in a lovely studio originally built by two of Duveneck students, Herman and Bessie Wessel. After Duvenecks death, the book (morgue) was given to Herman.
Carl asked me to post this comment for him:
"Hey Jim, Thanks for featuring our local/international hero! One thing about the big book we were looking at... It is Duveneck's "morgue" - an almost antiquated term in the age of the internet. It is a collection of illustrations/etchings of paintings and drawings that inspired him, apparently from early on in his career right through the early 1900s. He cut them out, and pasted them inside. Many of these pieces we'd never seen before, and some may have met their end in the world wars. I found it in 2018 in a dark corner of the Wessel attic. I plan on digitizing it and making it available online this year. -Carl"

Gloria J Callahan Colored Pencil Paintings said...

OH It would be great to see the digital form of this "morgue" (interesting term). Love looking through artists sketchbooks! This is a new artist for me to get to know his work and use of color. Thank you