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Bird Nesting

1837 Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze Born: Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany 1816 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1868 oil on canvas 13 3/8 x 12 1/8 in. (34.0 x 30.8 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase in memory of Joshua C. Taylor through the Director's Discretionary Fund 1981.51 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 3rd Floor, 4A


Luce Center Label

Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze spent his early career as an itinerant portraitist in Maryland and Virginia. He painted this scene of a young boy while he was experimenting with portraiture, and the boy’s pose allowed the artist to show various angles of the body. Images of children at play were popular in the 1830s, when childhood seemed to be an increasingly fleeting time of life. Three years before Leutze painted this scene, the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville announced that “in America there is, in truth, no adolescence. At the close of boyhood [the young American] is a man and begins to trace out his own path.” (Mintz, Huck’s Raft: A History of American Childhood, 2004)

Keywords

Animal - bird

Figure male - child

Landscape - tree

Object - other - nest

Recreation - sport and play - climbing

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze

Born: Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany 1816 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1868

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Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze

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