- Jan Newstrom Thompson
Duveneck, Frank (09 October 1848–03 January 1919), painter, was born Frank Decker in Covington, Kentucky, the son of Bernard Decker, a cobbler, and Katherine Siemers; they were both German immigrants. Bernard Decker died of cholera before Frank was a year old, and his seventeen-year-old widow married Joseph Duveneck, a grocer from Cincinnati, Ohio, and also a German immigrant, within a few months. Frank did not discover until he was an adult that Joseph Duveneck was not his biological father. After a simple elementary education, Duveneck served an apprenticeship to itinerant painters of ecclesiastical ornament in Cincinnati and other eastern towns. In search of a more polished style and technical refinement, he traveled to Europe and in January 1870 enrolled in Munich’s Bavarian Royal Academy. There he won prizes and acclaim for his painting and was drawn into the circle of German Realist painter Wilhelm Leibl. The paintings of this group, exemplified by Leibl’s dark tonalities, obvious brush strokes, and realistic depictions of down-to-earth people in genre scenes or posed against dark backgrounds, strongly influenced Duveneck’s stylistic development, as he gradually moved away from the academic manner of his teachers. His ...