Irish Artist Directory
Thomas

Thomas Hovenden (Irish Artist Directory)

Full Name: Thomas Hovenden

Lived: 1840 - 1895

Categories: Irish Artists in France, Painting

Artist Biography

Thomas Hovenden was sent from his home in Dunmanway to an orphanage in Cork City when his parents died during the Great Famine in 1847. Nine years later he was apprenticed to the Cork carver and gilder George Tolerton who noted Hovenden’s skill at draughtsmanship and sent him to the Cork School of Design (later to become the Crawford) in 1858. Part of the South Kensington School (now Victoria and Albert Museum), the Cork school promoted the ideas of Aestheticism and the teachings of John Ruskin. Although the school focussed on design, Hovenden subscribed to the notion of painting as a higher art with a social and moral purpose, and advanced his draughtsmanship by sketching the school’s collection of Antonio Canova’s plaster cast statuary as well as painting en plein air watercolours. 

In 1863, following his brother, Hovenden emigrated to New York. There he studied at the National Academy of Design under Charles Parsons, and managed to set up his own studio by running a framing business. Hovenden also lived in Baltimore, before being sent to Paris in 1874 with funding from the art collector John McCoy and his business partner William T. Walters. Hovenden studied at the École des Beaux Arts under Alexandre Cabanel before travelling to Pont-Aven where he was to meet Irish artists, as well as his future wife Helen Corson who he would settle with in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania on his return to America in 1881. 

On 15th August 1895 the headline 'ARTIST HOVENDEN A HERO' ran in The New York Times. Sadly it was the 54 year old’s obituary. Thomas Hovenden died when he was struck by a train, apparently in an attempt to save a young girl who had wandered onto the tracks. With the rise in popularity of modern rather than academic painting, Hovenden’s hard earned reputation was soon to be forgotten.

 Thomas Hovenden's work featured in Adam's loan exhibition 'The French Connection' (2010). Please click here to view the catalogue.

Thomas Hovenden Art Previously On Sale at Adam’s Auctioneers

Thomas Hovenden (1840-1895) The Story of the Hunt (1880) Oil on canvas, 63.5 x 78.75cm Signed and...

Hammer Price €47,000.00

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