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    The Story of the Hunt by Thomas Hovenden. (click on image to enlarge) UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR 47,000

    THE Story of the Hunt by Thomas Hovenden at the Adams Irish art sale in Dublin on June 1 is a rare example of work by the Cork born artist at auction.
    Thomas Hovenden was born in Dunmanway in December 1840, son of the town goaler. Orphaned in the Great Famine at the age of 6 he was placed in the Cork Orphanage. Later he was apprenticed to George Tolerton, a carver and gilder in Cork, who noted his skill at draughtsmanship.  Tolerton paid for him to attend the Cork School of Art which promoted ideas of aestheticism and the teachings of John Ruskin. Hovenden advanced his draughtsmanship by sketching the school’s collection of Antonio Canova’s plaster cast statuary and painting plein air watercolours.  A medal winning student he graduated in 1862.
    Hovenden arrived in America at the end of the Civil War and rose to fame painting patriotic scenes in sympathy with the American version of Victorian values, and later  for paintings of African Americans during the Abolitionist movement. Among his works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection are The Last Moments of John Brown. His work features in the collections of the Yale University Art Gallery, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the San Francisco Museum of Fine Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
    He studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts under Alexandre Cabanel.  He was sent there with funding from the art collector John McCoy and his business partner William Walters.  From there he went to Pont Aven where he met Irish artists and his future wife, Helen Corson.  He returned to America in 1881 and became  a member of the Society of American Artists (1881), the Philadelphia Society of Artists (1883) and an Associate member of the National Academy of Design (1881). He succeeded Thomas Eakins as Professor of Painting and Drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1886-88) and his students included Alexander Calder and the leader of the Ashcan School, Robert Henri. Around the time of his untimely death in 1895  in an accident – he died saving a child on a railway track – academic painting went out of fashion and so he was soon to be forgotten.
    Painted in Brittany in 1880 The Story of the Hunt is estimated at 50,000-70,000.
    See posts on for May 20, 2011 and September 11, 2010.

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