Edward Volkert    (1871     1935)

Born in Cincinnati to German parents, Volkert started his career painting portraits, then  moved on to bucolic landscapes. While living in New York, Volkert was president of the Bronx Art Guild. He later moved near Old Lyme, CT, in part because of his interest in painting the ever-present oxen there, which Volkert described as "Twice as good as cows at posing… oxen are always ready to stand still, but cows are more inquisitive and when a newcomer appears they forsake their quiet rumination and come over to investigate.”

Artists such as Volkert were attracted to Old Lyme for its proximity to the rural subjects of farms, fields, and farm animals. Sheep, oxen and horses were all painted, but the cow was the most popular. They represented a simpler time when man was more tied to the land, a topic popular at the time when modernity was sometimes viewed as a threat. This “cow craze” made the market for cow paintings very profitable and their images fashionable for turn-of-the-century parlors.

Volkert married, but experienced a difficult divorce. The New York Times (July 29, 1909) recorded the decision of a judge to award Volkert, at that time living in New York City, the custody of his then ten year-old daughter, Ruth, vs her mother and present husband, Professor Tor Van Pyk.

Volkert’s style is noted for its impressionist use of light, often applied in small dots of paint, while he maintained an interest in the true forms and colors of his subject matter.

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