Thomas Hovenden, Study of a Seated Male

Graphite on paper
Credit Line
Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Mr. Stiles Tuttle Colwill, 2018
12 ¼ in. x 9 ¼ in.
Artist Thomas Hovenden carefully posed the model for this studio drawing. The figure sits with his head resting on his bent right arm propped on a ledge, suggested by a simple horizontal line running through the center of the paper. His left arm reaches across his body and his hand nestles between his legs, which are arranged in a stacked manner with one slightly stretched in front of the other.
Although this model was carefully positioned in the artist’s studio, his body is not completely stiff. The curve of his back, his hunching shoulders, and the heavy weight of his head suggest that he is relaxing into this posture. With hair fashionably parted down the middle and an impressive moustache, he fixes his soft gaze over his left shoulder, just past the view
Study of a Seated Male, date unknown
Graphite on paper, 12 ¼ in. x 9 ¼ in.
Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Mr. Stiles Tuttle Colwill, 2018
Thomas Hovenden made this drawing on the other side of a similar study of a seated man. Unlike the latter drawing, which includes a horizontal line grounding the male figure in space, this one gives no indication of what the model is seated on. The artist’s attention here seems to be given to the dress and the shadows on the figure’s body.
Hovenden uses zigzagging lines to create shadows on the figure’s torso, forehead, and jawline. Her only facial features are her nose and lips, leaving us to wonder: Are her eyes closed, as if she is asleep, or merely hidden beneath the shadows of her hat? The fashionable elements of her ensemble, including the decorations on her collar and hat, make her a worthy companion in dress and style to the gentleman drawn on the other side of this paper.
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