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The Boy with the Arrow

1903 Douglas Volk Born: Pittsfield, Massachusetts 1856 Died: Fryeburg, Maine 1935 oil on canvas 46 1/8 x 36 1/8 in. (117.1 x 91.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of William T. Evans 1909.7.68 Not currently on view


Luce Center Label

Douglas Volk’s son, Leo, sits in a lush field at twilight, catching his breath from a day's excitement outdoors. He holds the arrow in a relaxed grip, as a confident young hunter would carry his spear. Leo occupies a transitional time in life, no longer a boy and not yet a man. In the early twentieth century the term "adolescence" came into popular use, and psychologists encouraged parents to guide their children through these turbulent years (Mintz, Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood, 2004). The character of Peter Pan, a boy who did not want to grow up, first appeared in the pages of Scribner’s Magazine the year before this painting was made. In this climate, Volk exhibited the painting at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair to great acclaim. He pictured his son as an energetic American boy, but the classical, pastoral setting also conveyed a timeless ideal of youth on the verge of adulthood.

Keywords

Figure(s) in exterior - rural

Landscape - tree

Portrait male - Volk, Leo - child

Recreation - sport and play - archery

painting

paint - oil

fabric - canvas

About Douglas Volk

Born: Pittsfield, Massachusetts 1856 Died: Fryeburg, Maine 1935

More works in the collection by
Douglas Volk