Advanced Search

Ichabod Crane

Not on view

Ichabod Crane

Artist: Daniel Huntington (American, 1816-1906)

Date: c. 1861
Medium: Graphite on cream-colored wove paper
Overall: 10 7/16 × 7 1/8in. (26.5 × 18.1cm)
Signed: inscribed lower right in graphite: 'Ichabod;' dealer? inventory number on verso.
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 97.3
Label Text
This drawing is a study for Huntington's 1861 painting, Ichabod Crane and Katrina Van Tassel (Historic Hudson Valley, Tarrytown, NY). The painting depicts the moment in Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., 1819-20) when Ichabod and Katrina meet. Huntington exhibited the completed painting in 1863 at the National Academy of Design in New York City. It was praised at the time for its strong characterization of the two protagonists, and for Huntington's careful observation of the accessories of the Dutch kitchen where the encounter takes place. The drawing of Ichabod was probably based on a live model. His pose and costume are the same in the finished painting except that Huntington added more details to Ichahod's costume and increased the number of books he is holding under his left arm.

The drawing was made when Huntington was at the height of his career. Shortly thereafter, in the spring of 1862, he was elected president of the National Academy of Design, a role that suited his personality and reflected the esteem with which his colleagues regarded him. The biographer Henry T. Tuckerman noted that Huntington was "frank, generous, and wholly unaffected."

Huntington executed a large number of drawings during his long and productive career. Many of these are now in public and private collections throughout the United States. These drawings are evidence of his belief in a theory codified in seventeenth century Europe that art making is a rational, deliberate process, governed by reason. Drawing was the means by which an artist experimented with pictorial ideas and compositional arrangements before committing them to paint on canvas.