Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Duveneck painting part of local color

The Cincinnati Wing

By Marilyn Bauer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Kristin Spangenberg, curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the Cincinnati Art Museum, has included Frank Duveneck's "Siesta" in her exhibition Making Their Mark: Drawings and Watercolors by Cincinnati Artists. The show is a complementary exhibition to the Cincinnati Wing illustrating the creative process of many of the artists featured in the new galleries.

The Duveneck drawing is a highlight with a colorful past. The pastel on canvas, on view for the first time in more than a decade, is a nude portrait that once hung in Foucar's Bar, a well-known saloon located on Walnut Street, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The cafe, owned by Theodore Foucar, was popular with the gentlemen of the city, including many local artists. Upon learning of the nude's brazen placement above the saloon bar, several women demanded the pastel be removed, fearing it would corrupt their sons and husbands.

Foucar later said: "When the good women of a town get on a warpath a wise man heads for the tall timber, so I decided to play a little joke on them and give the picture to the (Cincinnati) Art Museum. That girl was too naked for my saloon but she was not too naked for high society."

In 1919, Foucar not only donated Duveneck's pastel to the museum, but also provided for its transport up the hill to its new home in Eden Park.


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