American, 1848-1919

Theodore Wendel

oil on canvas laid on Masonite
monogrammed FD center right
15 1/8 x 12 in., housed in a M. Grieve Co. frame: 19 3/4 x 16 1/2 in.

  • Provenance: The artist; with Martin Rettig, Cincinnati (agent for the artist's estate); Ainslee Galleries, New York; Private Collection, Los Angeles; R.C. Vose Paintings, Boston, early 1937; a Brookline, Massachusetts Collector, March 14, 1938; [whereabouts unknown]; Cowan's Auctions, Cincinnati, October 17, 2015, 4; Property of a Manchester–by–the–Sea, Massachusetts Lady.
  • Notes: Bears R.C. Vose Paintings, Boston stamp and inventory number on stretcher. According the Vose Galleries archives, when Vose acquired the work in 1937, the reverse of the canvas was inscribed Cincinnati Ohio, Nov 5, 1920. This is to certify that this painting, subject, 'Man's Head,' size 12 x 15 1/2 in. was painted by my brother. –Charles F. Duveneck. Additionally, the archives cite a letter from W.P. Closson of A.B. Closson Co., Cincinnati, dated January 2, 1936, that reads, "For your information, we are pleased to tell you that it is a portrait of Theodore Wendell [sic] who was with Duveneck when he painted in Munich. It was painted, we believe, sometime in the 70s."

    "After all's said, Frank Duveneck is the greatest talent of the brush of this generation," lauded John Singer Sargent in the mid–1890s. This high praise is a testament to the recognition of Duveneck's skill within his lifetime, which was catalyzed by a series of early portraits he produced in the 1870s after a brief time at the Royal Academy of Arts in Munich. The works, including the well–known Whistling Boy (1872), expressed the artist's celebrated Munich–style realism that blended the dark aesthetics of Realism with the painterly technique of the Impressionists. He exhibited them to great acclaim in Cincinnati (1873) and in Boston (1875), before returning to Munich to establish his own painting school. In Munich, his following colloquially known as the "Duveneck Boys," attracted the likes of artist Theodore Wendel (1857–1932) who traveled to Germany in 1876 and of whom this portrait depicts. It is likely that Duveneck painted the portrait during Wendel's time in Germany. Before returning to the United States in 1886, Wendel spent his summers traveling and painting in Italy and his winters at Duveneck's school of art. The two artists reunited in the late 1880s in Gloucester, Massachusetts where they spent the summers painting the New England landscape.
  • Condition: Canvas laid on Masonite. A few areas of inpainting visible under UV, along with a heavy, uneven varnish.

    Please note: All property is sold "AS IS" and any statement, whether oral or written, is given as a courtesy and shall not be deemed as a guarantee, warranty, or representation of the authenticity of authorship, physical condition, size, quality, rarity, importance, provenance, exhibitions, literature or historical relevance of the property or otherwise. The absence of a condition report does not imply the item is in perfect condition.

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May 1, 2022 11:00 AM EDT
Boston, MA, US

Grogan & Company

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