After studying under Alexandre Cabanel at the École des Beaux
Arts, Thomas Hovenden (1840-95) began an exemplary career as a
painter and teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Along with his contemporaries there, Thomas Eakins and Thomas
Anschutz, Hovenden acquired a reputation for being both an
influential instructor and a talented artist.
A realistic genre painter and recorder of everyday activities such
as those involving home and family, Hovenden had a particular gift
for choosing subjects with wide recognition and appeal. His work
reflects a Victorian ethos; unlike many artists of the time,
however, Hovenden's work featured African American subjects in
domestic settings. His firm belief in sentiment and beauty as the
goals of artistic pursuits is evident in the nostalgic paintings
for which he is best known, such as The Last Moments of John
Brown, in which Brown is depicted stopping on his way to the
gallows to kiss a young black child.
This first full-length study fosters a greater understanding of
Hovenden's gifts as a painter and of his stylistic contribution to
art. Chronologically organized, it is both a retrospective of
Hovenden's work and a critical biography of the artist. The volume
features many of his paintings, studies, and sketches, some
reproduced for the first time.
A Barra Foundation Book
Subjects: Art & Art History
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