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Portrait of the Art Dealer, Otto Fleischman



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Portrait of the Art Dealer, Otto Fleischman
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1953.41
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Artist

William Merritt Chase

Title

Portrait of the Art Dealer, Otto Fleischman

Creation Date

ca. 1870-1879

Medium & Support

oil on canvas

Dimensions

26 1/2 in. x 21 1/2 in. (67.31 cm x 54.61 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Dr. Max Hirshler

Accession Number

1953.41

Copyright

Public Domain

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The first American artists to profit from European training were based in Munich, Germany, where the curriculum stressed a realist approach to painting. At the Royal Academy there,students like William Merritt Chase were encouraged to imitate the paintings of seventeenth-century Dutch masters, notably Rembrandt and Frans Hals. This portrait of the Munich art dealer Otto Fleischman exhibits the low-toned palette, striking contrasts, and rugged brushwork characteristic of this school of painting. While American critics saw no beauty in Chase’s early work, they praised the facility and swiftness of execution that imbued his canvases with “élan.” They complained repeatedly, however, that the artist’s technical bravura—manifest in the treatment of Fleischman’s face—obviated feeling for his subjects. Compared to the anatomically grounded work of Paris students, the Munich artists’ emphasis on brushwork led to repeated charges of superficiality.
 
Keywords: portraits  


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