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Douglas Volk

 (1856 - 1935)
Douglas Volk was active/lived in New York, Minnesota, Maine, Massachusetts.  Douglas Volk is known for female figure, portrait and historical painting.

Douglas Volk

Biography from the Archives of askART

The following is submitted by James Wyatt Earp whose source is "an old catalogue from 1922 of a group exhibition of paintings by Ben Foster, N.A.; W. Elmer Schofield, N.A.; Gardner Symons, N.A. and Douglas Volk, N.A. The catalogue also has a photograph of the artist to the right of their biography and their autograph. The catalogue reads The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery."


Douglas Volk, N.A; was born at Pittsfield, Mass; 1856. He is the son of the sculptor, Leonard W. Volk, and was a pupil of Gerome at Paris; exhibited at the Paris Salon, 1875-8. Instructor at the Cooper Institute, New York, 1879-84 and 1908-12; instructor, Art Students' League, New York, 1893-8; organized Minneapolis School of Fine Arts, 1886-93. Instructor, portrait class, Cooper Union, 1906-12; instructor, National Academy of Design, New York, 1910-17.

Mr. Volk was awarded medal, Columbian Exposition,Chicago, 1893; Shaw prize, Society of American Artists, 1899; first prize, Colonial Exhibition, Boston, 1899; Silver medal, Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, 1901; Carnegie prize, Society of American Artists, 1903; Silver medal, Universal Exposition, St. Louis, 1904; Gold medal, Carolina Art Association, 1907; Proctor Portrait prize, 1910; and Saltus gold medal, 1911, National Academy of design; Gold medal, San Francisco Exposition, 1915; Gold medal, National Arts Club, 1915; Beck gold medal, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1916; Cross of Officer of the order of Leopold II, 1921.

Organized handicraft movement at Centre Lovell. Member of the American Federation of Arts, Washington, D.C; Architectural League, New York; National Society of Portrait Painters; International Societe Des Beaux Arts et des Lettres; National Institute of Arts and Letters; Society of Mural Painters.

In 1919, Douglas Volk was commissioned by the National Art Committee to go abroad and paint from life the portraits of King Albert of the Belgians, Lloyd George of England, and General Pershing. These portraits have been presented by the National Art Committee to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Mr. Volk also painted for the Capitol at Albany a portrait of Governor Smith and ex-Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby, and one of Brand Whitlock.

He is represented in St. Paul Capitol, St. Paul, Minn.; Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, by a portrait of Felix Adler; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Pittsfield, Mass, Museum; Capitol, Montclair, N.J., Art Museum; National Arts Club, New York; Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, N. Y.; Muskegon, Mich., Art Museum; Omaha Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Me. Art Society; Brooklyn Museum of Art; War Portraits of King Albert, General Pershing and Lloyd George in National Gallery, Washington, 1921; The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy. Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo, by a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, 1922; and in many notable private collections.

Biography from the Archives of askART
Douglas Volk, whose full name was Stephen Arnold Douglas Volk, specialized in female figural works---"idealized women in languorous poses, wearing expressions as if lost in a daydream; he was also known for portraits."

In 1886, he founded the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts and served there as director until 1893. He then had a teaching career in New York City that included the Art Students League (1893-1898), Cooper Union School (1906-1912) and the National Academy of Design (1910-1917).

His father was sculptor Leonard Volk.

Peter Hastings Falk, Editor, Who Was Who in American Art

Biography from Kramer Gallery, Inc.
The son of American sculptor Leonard W. Volk, Douglas Volk received early art training in Italy and with Jean-Leon Gerome in Paris. While still in his twenties, Douglas was exhibiting paintings in the Paris Salon exhibitions as well as exhibiting and teaching in America.

In 1886 the newly formed Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, ancestor of today's Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, summoned Volk to establish its art school. He remained in Minneapolis for seven years, and also painted two mural-sized historical canvases, "Father Hennepin Discovering the Falls of St. Anthony" and "The Second Minnesota Regiment at Missionary Ridge", for the Minnesota State Capitol's Governor's Reception Room around 1905.

Volk was an accomplished portraitist whose subjects included military and cultural leaders as well as society types, whom he sometimes portrayed within sumptuously painted interiors suggesting their interests and personality. Volk also specialized in historical genre scenes. His costume pieces combined concern for detailed period accessories with broadly-brushed yet plausible interiors and landscape settings, often illustrating figures and scenes from colonial history. Volk made numerous paintings of Abraham Lincoln (whom his father had sculpted from life), some of which were frequently reproduced as advertising premiums.

Written and submitted by Thomas O'Sullivan, museum curator and freelance writer.

Rena Neumann Coen, PAINTING AND SCULPTURE IN MINNESOTA, 1820-1914 (1976)

Michael Conforti, ed., MINNESOTA 1900: ART OF THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI 1890-1915 (1994)

William H. Gerdts: AMERICAN IMPRESSIONISM (1984)

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis MN
Minnesota Historical Society and Minnesota State Capitol, St. Paul MN
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC
Newark Museum, Newark NJ
National Academy of Design, New York, NY
High Museum of Art, Atlanta GA

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About  Douglas Volk

Born:  1856 - Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Died:   1935 - Fryeburg, Maine
Known for:  female figure, portrait and historical painting

Essays referring to
Douglas Volk

San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915