Frederick Freer and Frank Duveneck (American, 1848–1919) were students together at Munich’s Royal Academy of Art in the 1870s and became good friends. This portrait and a seond similar portrait by Duveneck in the MMFA collection (1936.28) appear to have been painted by the artists simultaneously, and the sitter was Freer’s young daughter Catherine. These paintings of Catherine were a part of the estate of the artist and his wife, Margaret. Most likely the sitter’s parents retained these images at least partly as a memorial to Catherine, who died as a toddler.
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