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Frank Duveneck and Elizabeth Boott Duveneck papers, 1851-1972, bulk bulk 1851-1919

Duveneck, Frank, 1848-1919

Art teacher, Painter

The papers of Frank and Elizabeth Boott Duveneck in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2009.The bulk of the papers have been scanned and total 1,181 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Collection Information

Size: 1.2 Linear feet

Summary: The papers of painter and teacher Frank Duveneck and his wife, painter Elizabeth Boott Duveneck measure 1.2 linear feet and date from 1851-1972, bulk 1851-1919. Aspects of the lives and work of the artists are documented in correspondence, creative writings, research notes, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, ephemera, sketches and sketchbooks, and vintage photographs.
The limited amount of correspondence in this collection includes separate letters from Frank Duveneck and Elizabeth Duveneck, primarily to family members, which describe studies and travel abroad, works in progress, exhibitions, and after their marriage, reports on family life. Frank Duveneck's correspondence also includes a letter from sculptor William Couper concerning the marble for a memorial to Elizabeth Boott Duveneck. There is also a folder of letters to and from Mr. and Mrs. Francis B. Duvencek, the son and daughter-in-law of the artist couple, that include reminiscences about Frank Duveneck from former student Bessie Wessel and a letter to Francis Duveneck from Daniel Chester French requesting permission to make a bronze from the plaster cast of the Duveneck's effigy of Elizabeth at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Writings include Elizabeth Boott Duveneck's diary, a typescript of a speech attributed to Frank Duveneck, and research notes compiled by daughter-in-law Josephine Duveneck in preparation for her biography of her father-in-law.
Printed materials consist primarily of newspaper clippings and magazine articles on Frank Duveneck, but also include his Munich Royal Academy card and copy certificate from the Ministry of Florence, Italy. Newspaper clippings may also be found in the Scrapbook series, including Elizabeth Boott Duveneck's scrapbook of exhibition reviews of her paintings, and two folders of clippings pertaining to Frank Duveneck compiled by Josephine Duveneck. Frank Duveneck's scrapbook contains printed illustrations compiled by the artist while he was studying art in Munich.
Sketchbooks and sketches consist of four sketchbooks by Elizabeth Boott Duvenck and three by Frank Duveneck that document their growth as artists as they span several decades (particularly in the case of Elizabeth) of their respective careers. There are also two folders of loose, mostly early, portrait sketches by Elizabeth Boott Duveneck.
Vintage photographs depict Frank Duveneck alone, with family and friends, Elizabeth Boott Duveneck, Francis Boott with his daughter, John Twachtman, art classes including one of Wilhelm von Diez's classes in Munich, and a group photograph of the jury of the 1915 Panama-Pacific exposition. There is only one photograph that includes both Frank and Elizabeth Duveneck together along with her father Francis Boott and nurse Ann Shenston.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, etcher, and one of the most influential American art instructors of the nineteenth century, Frank Duveneck was born Frank Decker to German immigrants Bernard and Katherine Decker on October 9, 1848 in Covington, Kentucky. He acquired the name Duveneck from his stepfather after his father's death and mother's remarriage. Family and friends recognized his artistic talents early on and he was apprenticed to local German artisans who decorated churches through most of the 1860s. In 1870 he traveled to Munich to study at the prestigious Konigliche Akademie (Royal Academy), where he was quickly promoted to life classes and the painting class of Wilhelm von Diez. He quickly earned a reputation as the leading American artist in the Academy. Duveneck was only 24 in 1872 when painted one of his most well-known paintings, Whistling Boy .


The papers of Frank Duveneck and Elizabeth Boott Duveneck were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Francis B. Duveneck, the son and daughter-in-law of Frank and Elizabeth Duveneck in 1974 with additional material lent for microfilming. In 1974, the Cincinnati Historical Society donated photocopies of original letters that were microfilmed and discarded. A portrait photograph of Frank Duveneck was donated in 1985 by Freda Schutze.

Related Materials


Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art