Thomas Hovenden, Study of Two Bretons Around a Sick Bed

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

During his years in Pont-Aven, Thomas Hovenden was drawn to familial subjects placed in interiors. The village’s traditional values inspired him to highlight community and domestic life, and many local peasants were willing to model. Hovenden arranged scenes around a common activity, often basic household tasks.

In this study, two Breton peasants attend a sick bed. Hovenden has enclosed the figures in a hand-drawn rectangle. The bed is hastily drawn and undetailed, except for a circular carving in the center of the headboard and patient’s head on a large pillow. A young woman sits at the foot of the narrow bed and a young man stands beside her. Their faces are crudely drawn, suggesting that Hovenden was more interested in the composition of this work than in capturing the features of the models.

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