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Classification: Painting

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Image of Spanish Don

Frank Duveneck
American, 1848–1919

Spanish Don

about 1877–1880

Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: North America, American, Ohio
36 in. x 29 in. (91.44 cm x 73.66 cm)
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Accession Number: 1936.0032

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Margaret Freer

Currently On View
Copyright: © Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

This studio portrait by Duveneck emphasizes his study of and appreciation for the painting techniques of European Baroque masters such as Diego Velasquez (Spanish, 1599-1660) and Frans Hals (Dutch about 1581-1666). Characteristically, the figure emerges from a dark background with only his face and hands highlighted by light that comes from the left side.

The work appears to have been painted very quickly: bare canvas can be seen beneath the compositional layer; drip marks extend from the middle of the man’s torso to the edge of the canvas; detail can only be found delineated in the man’s face – his clothing, arm, and hand – while recognizable as such, aren’t clearly defined or delineated. The brushstrokes are generally short and vigorous, while the pigment varies greatly in thickness. For example, the figure's right hand is made up of thick impastos of pink, white, and red, while the paint in other areas is so thin the canvas is visible.

American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2006, cat. no. 22, p. 76.

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