Feeding the Doves
Herman Hensen (American, 19th Century)
Oil on canvas, signed, located and dated lower right,
Painting size: 23” x 17”
Frame size: 33” x 27.25”
American Impressionist Herman Hensen lived and worked in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also spent a portion of his career in Munich during the mid-1880’s, evidenced by the date and location noted in the lower right corner of this work.
Like his artistic contemporaries, Hensen delighted in depicting a beautiful woman in fashionable dress; the lacy round neckline and the diaphanous sleeves of the white daydress are in keeping with the trends of the era. The artist’s choice of a white dress not only highlights the coloring of this dark-haired beauty, but evokes a romantic mood. Sitting on a white marble bench, a rose in one hand, the young woman feeds a pair of doves. The birds flutter about, one boldly alighting on her shoulder. She, in contrast, seems quiet with a pensive expression on her face. Is she waiting for her true love? Or musing over a romance gone awry, the pair of doves emphasizing her isolation?
Hensen exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1880. He is listed in Who Was Who in American Art (Falk, 1999)