The Fencing Master is one of two oil paintings of this subject by Melchers. They belong to a small group of full-length pictures of men dressed for their occupational roles. These works are not commissioned portraits but genre paintings in which the individuals are posed in characteristic settings and clothes. Here the emphasis is on the design of the painting rather than the particular identity of the subject, French painter Ernest Noir.
Artist Gari Melchers, American, 1860-1932
  • The Fencing Master
Date ca. 1895
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 81 1/4 × 39 1/2 inches (206.4 × 100.3 cm)
Framed: 95 1/4 × 54 × 3 inches (241.9 × 137.2 × 7.6 cm)
Credit Line Gift of Edward Chandler Walker
Accession Number 13.9
Department American Art before 1950
On View American W292, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Signed, lower right: Gari Melchers
Edward C. Walker.
1913-present, gift to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Supplement to the Handbook of Paintings. Detroit, 1907, p. 18.

Burroughs, Clyde. “’The Fencing Master’ by Gari Melchers.” Bulletin of the DMA 7, 2 (April 1913): pp. 17-18 (ill.).

Trask, John E.D. and J. Nilsen Laurvik, eds. Catalogue Deluxe of the Department of Fine Arts, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, Vol. 1. San Francisco, 1915, no. 3674.

Bryant, Lorinda Munson. “What Pictures to See in America.” New York, 1915, pp. 235-236 (fig. 149).

Biographical Sketches of American Artists, 3rd ed. Lansing, 1915, p. 164. [as A Fencer]

Paintings by Gari Melchers. Exh. cat., Corcoran Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1918, no. 15.

Catalogue of Painting, Sculpture, and Contemporary Arts and Crafts. Detroit, 1920, p. 135, no. 213.

Bulletin of the DIA 1, 7 (1920): pp. 104, 107 (ill.).

Paintings by Gari Melchers. Exh. cat., Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore, 1923, no. 3.

Piper, Adaline. “Gari Melchers.” American Magazine of Art 15 (February 1924): p. 81.

Paintings and Sculptures of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1927, p. 183.

Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings by Gari Melchers. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1927, pp. 3-4, 7, no. 14.

Lewis-Hind, Henriette. Gari Melchers, Painter. New York, 1928 (ill.).

Catalogue of Paintings in the Permanent Collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts of the City of Detroit. Detroit, 1930, no. 344.

Exhibition of a Retrospective Collection of Paintings Representative [sic] of the Life Work of Gari Melchers, N.A. Exh. cat., Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Albright Art Gallery. Buffalo, 1930, pp. 5, 8.

Paintings and Sculpture of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1937, p. 206.

Rich, Daniel Catton. “Fifty Years at Chicago.” The Magazine of Art 32, 12 (1939): p. 707 (ill.).

American Painting. Exh. cat., University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, 1940, no. 33.

The Detroit Institute of Arts Paintings and Sculpture Illustrated—A Companion to the Catalogue, 3rd ed. Detroit, 1943, p. 202 (ill.).

The Detroit Institute of Arts Catalogue of Paintings, 2nd ed. Detroit, 1944, p. 89, no. 344 (ill.).

Michigan Artists, 1901-1951: An Exhibition Arranged in Commemoration of Detroit’s 250th Birthday. Exh. cat., Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1951, p. 6.

Treasures from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1960, p. 258 (ill.).

Gibson, A.H. Artists of Early Michigan. Detroit, 1975, p. 174 (ill.).

The Metropolitan Opera on Tour. Detroit, 1976 (ill.).

Reid, Richard S. The Permanent Collection of Works by Gari Melchers at Belmont: The Gari Melchers Memorial Gallery. Fredericksburg, VA, 1982 (ill.).

Dreiss, Joseph. Gari Melchers. Charlottesville, 1984, pp. 105-106 (fig. 37, pl. 11).

Dewhurts, K. B. Macdowell and M. Macdowell. “The Art of Julius and Gari Melchers.” Antiques 125, 4 (April 1984): pp. 862-873 (pl. 3).

Simon, Robin. The Portrait in Britain and America. Oxford, 1987, pp. 208-209 (ill.).

Artists of Michigan in the Nineteenth Century. Exh. cat., Muskegon Museum of Art. Muskegon, MI, 1987, p. 140, no. 28.