The Italian Presence in American Art, 1860-1920

By Irma B. Jaffe | Go to book overview

14. From Private Grief to Public Monument
The Funerary Effigy of Elizabeth Boott Duveneck

LOIS DINNERSTEIN

In a time-honored practice, at an awesome moment of sudden death in Paris, on March 22, 1888, the American artist Louis Ritter recorded forever the last appearance of Elizabeth Lyman Otis Boott Duveneck, dead at the age of forty-two (Plate 117). With a probing, penetrating charcoal line Ritter, one of the famed "Duveneck Boys," tremulously followed the expressive contour of Lizzie's face sunk in death, with its strange grimace and sharp-hooked nose, drawn in the German style of this artist who had earlier been a prize-winning student at the Munich Royal Academy. This unpublished drawing is now in the collection of the Cincinnati Art Museum, the chief repository of works by Frank Duveneck and Elizabeth Boott given, as was this drawing, as a gift from Frank Duveneck himself. 1

This haunting likeness is in marked contrast to the ultimate image of Lizzie in death, the Funerary Effigy of Elizabeth Boott Duveneck (Plate 118, Color Plate 11), a bronze, originally gilded sculpture created for the Cimitero Evangelico degli Allori, or Laurel Cemetery, the Italian site near Lizzie's Bellosguardo home where, at her own request, Lizzie's remains were brought from Paris for burial. 2 If the Recollections of Francis Boott, her father, are accurate, Elizabeth Boott Duveneck actually was born part Italian for it was either his mother's father or grandfather (he was not sure which) who had been an Italian who emigrated to England. From there, Francis Boott's family had come to America. 3 Whether this was, in fact, true or not, there is no doubt than in this sculpture we see the dead Elizabeth Boott Duveneck transformed by the vivifying influence of an Italian art heritage, for while this recumbent figure, or gisant, is of a type found throughout Western art from the Gothic period on, there are in this memorable monument particular references to the Florentine Anglo-American culture in which Lizzie was raised and to specifically Italian prototypes treasured by Lizzie, her family, and friends. The classic ordering of the features of her face and the carefully composed expression of calm attribute to Lizzie in death an historic grandeur and monumentality. This effect was created by her bereaved husband, Frank Duveneck, with the help of another of his artist friends, the sculptor Clement J. Barnhorn. 4 Frank Duveneck, a painter, had never before made a sculpture. Barnhorn offered him the use of his equipped Cincinnati studio and expertise. It is not known exactly which part of this monument (Plate 119) was created by which artist but it is generally supposed that the head and arms were executed by Duveneck while the drapery and palm frond owe more to Barnhorn who, no doubt, was working to faithfully execute Duveneck's idea of what the monument to his wife should look like. This was at the very beginning of Barnhorn's own career as a maker of monuments which are, for the most part, in a later, more stylized, decorative manner. 5 This Duveneck-Barnhorn collaboration produced a sculpture which poignantly expressed Duveneck's own sense of loss and, at the same time, served to connect Lizzie's memory to a tradition rooted in Italian soil. The tomb was designed to be placed close to the community in which Lizzie had spent her formative years, the Anglo-American expatriate enclave on Bellosguardo. Many of the Americans there played a significant role in the cultural life of the United States. In addition to their own creative works in art and literature these nineteenth- century visiting Americans often took it upon themselves to raise cultural standards back home. They would commission sculpture or write mem

-200-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Italian Presence in American Art, 1860-1920
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 270

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.