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Friedrich Johann Voltz - The Shower

Friedrich Johann Voltz (1817-1886), German
The Shower, 1879
OIL ON PANEL, 13 x 25 inches
Gift of Mrs. Theodora Willard Best

Friedrich Johann Voltz's painting of a herdsman and his dog watering their cattle attests both to the international appeal of idealized portrayals of rural life during the later nineteenth century and to the artist's success at promoting this, his signature subject. As the art market burgeoned in the later century, many American and European artists achieved modest distinction for easily recognized renderings of a particular subject, such as Verboeckhoven of sheep and Bazzani of Pompeii, varying only the arrangements of figures and vantage point between works. In an age of industry, such a consistent product was appreciated for its stable value and accessible subject matter. Voltz created a strong, technically proficient body of work characterized by a vibrant palette, dynamic climate, and peaceable subject matter that col­lectively invoke the already popular aesthetics of the French Barbizon tradition of mid-century.