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The Reader

William Verplanck Birney

American, 1858 - 1909

The Reader, ca. 1890

  • On View

Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 12 × 14 in. (30.5 × 35.6 cm)

Gift of Genevieve and Richard Shaw, by exchange, 2011.317

Cincinnati-born genre painter William Verplanck Birney studied at both the Massachusetts Normal Art School and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (under Eakins). He then went to the Munich Academy where he may have met colleague Louis Charles Moeller (1855-1930). Birney was one of two Americans whose works sold at Munich’s 1883 International Exhibition. He established a studio in New York City and exhibited at the National Academy of Design between 1885 and 1909. In addition, he took part in the 1889 Paris Universal Exposition and in Buffalo’s Pan-American Exposition of 1901, as well as the 1904 St. Louis Universal Exposition.

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