About this artwork
Like many artists of his generation, Walter Shirlaw furthered his training in Europe, studying at the Royal Academy in Munich. German instruction focused on a dark, painterly realism and was steeped in an astute understanding of aesthetic traditions. In Toning the Bell, executed during his student years and now considered his best-known work, the artist demonstrated an accomplished Munich style, featuring noble peasants, a limited tonal palette, and strong contrasts of light and dark. Prior to his time abroad, Shirlaw had worked in Chicago and helped establish the Chicago Academy of Design, a forerunner to the Art Institute of Chicago.
- Walter Shirlaw
- Toning the Bell
- Oil on canvas
- Signed, lower left: "Walter Shirlaw / 1874"
- 101.6 × 76.2 cm (40 × 30 in.)
- Friends of American Art Collection