The Cobbler’s Apprentice, 1877, Frank Duveneck (American, 1848–1919), oil on canvas
One of the most important American realists of the 19th century, Duveneck was also an influential art teacher. Born in Covington, Kentucky, he studied in Munich, Germany, where he developed a bold, unpretentious style based on quick brushwork, strong light and dark contrasts, and raw yet picturesque subjects. This signature canvas is among his most accomplished Munich paintings. Duveneck has placed his liquid, energetic brushwork on a level of importance equal to his sympathetic portrayal of the subject. The boy’s dirty fingernails and the ash of his cigar are masterfully emphasized with bright, hard highlights.