Old Slave


William Henry Huddle ( American, 1847 - 1892 )

c. 1889
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General Description

Although the depiction of African American men as musicians had a long and clichéd history in American art, William Henry Huddle’s careful draftsmanship and sensitive portrayal of his elderly sitter lifts the portrait above the 19th-century stereotype of the minstrel. Huddle studied in New York at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League from 1874 to 1876. He then settled permanently in Austin, Texas, where he soon received a commission from the legislature for the portraits of the state’s former presidents and governors.

Excerpt from

William Keyse Rudolph, DMA label text, 2005.