From preparatory studies to finished works of art, this lavishly illustrated volume offers a unique opportunity to consider Edward Potthast—Cincinnati native and American Impressionist. Potthast travelled from his native Cincinnati to Europe in the 1880s, studying in Antwerp, Munich, and Paris. New research, supported by archival photographs and documents, puts his paintings in the context of the arts and culture of his time: the popularity of peasant themes during the Industrial Revolution, the Dutch craze, and the rise of middle class leisure time and tourism. Although children are often the focus of Potthast’s beach life, he also captures the raucousness of a working- and middle-class crowd, as well as the newly liberated woman.
For this wide-ranging volume, works are drawn from the collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum, as well as private collections and other public institutions. Potthast’s famous beach scenes are considered within the wider scope of his art, from his early portrayals of European agricultural labourers to his stunning landscapes and less well-known portraits and nudes. Essays focus on Potthast’s associations with Cincinnati, his skilful use of watercolour in spare atmospheric sketches and highly finished works, and the development of his breathtakingly vivid paintings of bathers at the seaside. A technical study of Potthast’s paintings provides an invaluable resource for museums, collectors, and dealers, and a detailed illustrated chronology traces his full career.
Julie Aronson is curator of American Painting, Sculpture, and Drawings at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and author of Bessie Potter Vonnoh: Sculptor of Women (2008) and Perfect Likeness: European and American Portrait Miniatures from the Cincinnati Art Museum (2006).
Per Knutås, formerly of the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art, is head of conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Carol Troyen is the Kristin and Roger Servison Curator Emerita of American Painting at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and author of Edward Hopper (2007).
Cynthia Amnéus is curator of Fashion Arts and Textiles at the Cincinnati Art Museum. In 2004 she won the Victorian Society of America’s Ruth Emery Publication Award for A Separate Sphere: Dressmakers in Cincinnati’s Golden Age, 1877–1922 (2003).
Anne Buening is curatorial assistant at the Cincinnati Art Museum.