Dunmanway, Co. Cork, b.1840

Thomas Hovenden

Thomas Hovenden (December 28, 1840 – August 14, 1895), was an Irish artist and teacher. He painted realistic quiet family scenes, narrative subjects and often depicted African Americans. Hovenden was born in Dunmanway, Co. Cork, Ireland. His parents died at the time of the potato famine and he was placed in an orphanage at the age of six. Apprenticed to a carver and gilder, he studied at the Cork School of Design.

In 1863, he immigrated to the United States. He studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City. He moved to Baltimore in 1868 and then left for Paris in 1874. He studied at the École des Beaux Arts under Cabanel, but spent most of his time with the American art colony at Pont-Aven in Brittany...

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Biography

Thomas Hovenden (December 28, 1840 – August 14, 1895), was an Irish artist and teacher. He painted realistic quiet family scenes, narrative subjects and often depicted African Americans. Hovenden was born in Dunmanway, Co. Cork, Ireland. His parents died at the time of the potato famine and he was placed in an orphanage at the age of six. Apprenticed to a carver and gilder, he studied at the Cork School of Design.

In 1863, he immigrated to the United States. He studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City. He moved to Baltimore in 1868 and then left for Paris in 1874. He studied at the École des Beaux Arts under Cabanel, but spent most of his time with the American art colony at Pont-Aven in Brittany led by Robert Wylie, where he painted many pictures of the peasantry.

Returning to America in 1880, he became a member of the Society of American Artists and an Associate member of the National Academy of Design (elected Academician in 1882). He married Helen Corson in 1881, an artist he had met in Pont-Aven, and settled at her father's homestead in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. She came from a family of abolitionists and her home was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Their barn, later used as Hovenden's studio, was known as "Abolition Hall" due to its use for anti-slavery meetings.

He was commissioned by Mr. Robbins Battell to paint a historical picture of the abolitionist leader John Brown. He finished The Last Moments of John Brown (now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) in 1884. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Stoeckel in 1897. Accession Number 97.5 Mrs. Stoeckel was Mr. Battell's daughter. His Breaking Home Ties, a picture of American farm life, was engraved with considerable popular success.

In 1886, he was appointed Professor of Painting and Drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, replacing Thomas Eakins who was dismissed due to his use of nude models. Among Hovenden's students were the sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder and the leader of the Ashcan School, Robert Henri.

Artworks

Breaking Home Ties, 1890

Related Categories

19th Century Art / African American / American Art / Canvas / Domestic Scenes / Family and Friend / Oil on Canvas / Oil Paint / Oil Painting / Painting