Art Of The Day

Take a look at this image of a summer long past originally created by Hubert von Herkomer.

This reproduction of a Herkomer etching was produced by the print company London J. S. Virtue Co., Limited for The Art Journal. In this languid summer scene, a woman clad in a long, flowing gown contemplates a wildflower as she strokes its petals with her right hand. Framed by bramble and bracken, she stands on a well-kempt path that seems to lead to the hills beyond.

 From the beyond himself, Bavarian-born British painter Hubert von Herkomer was born in 1849. Also a composer and film-director, Herkomer is perhaps best known for his naturalistic visual expose of poverty, which he titled Hard Times and published in 1885. Perhaps drawn to the subject of poverty because of his difficult childhood, Herkomer recalled in an interview with Chums boy's annual, he had "an anxious time of it as a boy. We were constantly in want of money..."

However, Herkomer's artistic skills lifted him from the drudgery of poverty. The son of a skilled wood carver who was often out of work, Herkomer learned from watching his father manipulate wood into visions of Christian sainthood. Though he eventually sought formal training at the South Kensington Schools and frequently exhibited with academic salons, Herkomer seemed to have little use for formal training. In his autobiography, the artist rather cynically states "All art schools of note of the present day have traditions that block the way. They have committees and concils that hinder experiments, and impose on the students the folly of competitive prize work, to prove the efficacy of the system of teaching."

This informality is also apparent in Herkomer's portrait of this young woman. She appears at ease, caught in a natural moment of stillness rather than formally posed.

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  • Additional Information

    Sir Hubert von Heromer. Autobiography of Hubert Herkomer. (Self-published, 1890). 



Hubert von Herkomer


, 1891
A photogravure after the etching , 12 5/8 x 9 1/4 in. (32.07 x 23.5 cm)
Gift of J. Thomas and Debra Gabrielson Lee, 2006.194