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 Frank Tuchfarber  (fl. 1870-90)

About: Frank Tuchfarber


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Lived/Active: Ohio      Known for: trompe l'oeil still life

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Frank Tuchfarber
An example of work by Frank Tuchfarber
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Known for his skill as a chromo lithographer, Frank Tuchfarber did his most famous work, a hand-painted chromolithograph, 24 X 35" on both paper and glass of William Harnett's painting, Old Violin. This piece is in the collection of the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Tuchfarber purchased Harnett's popular trompe l'oeil painting from the 1886 13th Cincinnati Industrial Exposition. There Old Violin had been so popular that guards were stationed to prevent viewers from touching the flat canvas to see if the violin was real.

He was interested in The Old Violin for several reasons. It served his business needs as the chromo made from it could serve as a sign for music stores and as a fine art reproduction. Also the subject matter was of personal interest because he had worked to found the Cincinnati Grand Orchestral Company, which became the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

In the execution of the work, he used seventeen different stones to attempt to achieve the original lustre of the painting. His advertisement for the Old Violin stated: "We have not spared either time or money to produce an exact facsimile of this wonderful picture."

In the latter half of the 19th Century, Tuchfarber began as a lithographic artist for Donaldson Lithographic Company before starting his own business, which in 1903 declined so badly he asked Mr. Donaldson to take over.

Tuchfarber, when he had his own business, manufactured enamel iron show cards and chromolithographs under the business name of F. Tuchfarber. He also developed a process to eliminate the wrinkling of prints not mounted on canvas. In his book, The Democratic Art, Peter Marzio writes that the firm of F Tuchfarber produced some of the most outstanding chromos in the history of Cincinnati.

Trompe l'oeil: The Art of Deception by Nancy Dawson, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery

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Frank Tuchfarber is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Trompe l'Oeil Painting

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