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August Frederic Schenck, German 1828 -1901
Though born in Gluckstadt, Germany, Schenck was to become a Frenchman by naturalization. Intended for a life of business by his parents, he set out for England and Portugal at the age of fourteen, engaging in “mercantile life.” Finding, however, an interest in drawing, he left for Paris where he entered the studio of Leon Cogniet, a specialist in historical painting and an Officer in the Legion of Honor.
Making his Salon debut in 1855, Schenck became noted for the charm with which he presented animal life. A somewhat caustic sense of humor carried the animal nature into his work along with suggestions of human relationships. Some of his works could even be considered allegorical in nature.
Of the artist a critic writing in Figaro in 1878 stated: “All the world today regards Schenck as one of our first animal painters. He is one of those originals, of a species not yet extinct, who prefers dogs to men, and finds more sweetness in sheep than in women. Retired to Ecouen, a small village near Paris, to a farm, he lives in the midst of oxen, goats, horses and sheep of all types, races, and species: cares for them, cultivates them, loves the, and above all studies them, as never an artist studied his models.”
Schenck was awarded medals at the Paris Salon of 1865 and in Philadelphia in 1876. He was also made a Chevalier of the Orders of Christ of Portugal and of Isabella the Catholic of Spain.
Biography excerpted from the unpublished catalog by Edward P. Bentley for the Haussner Restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, titled: Haussner’s, The Children.