The Italian Presence in American Art, 1860-1920

By Irma B. Jaffe | Go to book overview
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ing the late nineteenth century, they are yet in some ways no more bold and revolutionary than the views of Venice that Twachtman created on his 1877-1878 trip.


I would like to thank Ira Spanierman, my co-author on the Twachtman catalogue raisonné currently in preparation at Spanierman Gallery, for his support of new research on Twachtman, and Professor William H. Gerdts for his insightful advice on this paper.

Most sources say that the three artists journeyed together from Munich to Venice. For example, Josephine Duveneck wrote: " Duveneck and Chase and Twachtman traveled from Munich to Venice in 1877, stopping en route at Innsbruck where Duveneck painted a portrait of Susan B. Anthony." J. Duveneck, Frank Duveneck. Painter-Teacher, San Francisco, 1970, 67. However, Duveneck later recollected that Twachtman had joined his two companions in Venice. F. Duveneck , "Reminiscences for Mrs. Chase to Use in Biography of Mr. Chase," typescript, Archives, Cincinnati Art Museum.
Accounts differ as to length of time spent by the three artists in Venice. Katharine Metcalf Roof suggests that they spent about nine months in the city, and Norbert Heermann wrote that they spent a year. Their departure took place sometime after the Munich Royal Academy classes ended, probably in May or June; thus according to Roof's account, their return would have been sometime in the first few months of 1878. See K. M. Roof, The Life and Art of William Merritt Chase, New York, 1917, 45; N. Heerman, Frank Duveneck, Boston, 1918, 30-31.
C. Mase, "John H. Twachtman," International Studio, LXXII, January 1921, lxxiii.
Other students attending the class include Joseph DeCamp, Kenyon Cox, Clement J. Barnhorn, and Alfred Brennan. See Clement J. Barnhorn, Cincinnati, to John H. Faig, Ohio Mechanics Institute, Cincinnati, June 11, 1930, Archives, University of Cincinnati.
Twachtman's registration is verified in the Matriculant's Book, Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. Twachtman may have been allowed to skip courses in Theory and Antique Drawing, which were usually prerequisites for Life Drawing classes. For information on the Royal Academy's curriculum, see M. Quick, An American Painter Abroad: Frank Duveneck's European Years, Exhibition Catalogue, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1987; and M. Quick and E. Ruhmer, Munich and American Realism, Exhibition Catalogue, Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, California, 1978, 23-36.
Loefftz had himself been a student of Diez's from 1870 to 1874. In 1874 Loefftz began to teach at the Academy, and in the late 1870s, when Diez became ill, he took over many of his former instructor's classes. For further information on Loefftz, see Quick and Ruhmer (as in n. 5), 54; and H. Karlinger, München und die deutsche Kunst des 19. Jahrhunderts, Munich, 1966, 59ff.
George McLaughlin stated in an 1880 article that Twachtman was a "member of the Life Class under Duveneck at the [Munich] Academy." There are, however, no other contemporary documents to support the statement, and it is generally thought that Duveneck began to teach in approximately 1879 after Twachtman had left Munich. See G. McLaughlin, "Cincinnati Artists of the Munich School," American Art Review, II, December 1880, 45-46.
For information on Currier's career, see C. N. White , The Life and Art of J. Frank Currier, Cambridge, Mass., 1936.
Roof (as in n. 2), 45; Josephine Duveneck wrote that "In Munich [ Duveneck, Chase, and Twachtman] had built up a reputation which made it possible for them to sell a picture once in a while. But in Venice, they found there were myriads of other artists better known than they. To dispose of pictures proved most difficult." Duveneck (as in n. 1), 67.
Roof describes a farewell celebration held for Chase in Polling, on the occasion of his departure for


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