Thomas Hovenden, Sketch of a Reclining Female Nude

Graphite on paper
Credit Line
Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Mr. Stiles Tuttle Colwill, 2018
8 ½ in. x 11 ¾ in.

Thomas Hovenden captured the attention of Baltimore collector William T. Walters and his business partner, John W. McCoy, in 1872 with his entry into the National Academy of Design’s annual exhibition, The Old Nurse’s Visit. The two men encouraged Hovenden to study painting abroad, and in 1874 Hovenden journeyed to France with McCoy’s financial support. In Paris the young artist studied at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts and became a pupil of Alexandre Cabanel, one of the school’s three painting masters. 

Cabanel greatly influenced Hovenden, particularly in his exceptional rendering of the human form and compositional arrangements. This drawing by Hovenden is reminiscent of Cabanel’s 1863 oil painting The Birth of Venus.


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