Boys Bathing
On View In:
Gallery 302
Artist:   Alexander Grinager  
Title:   Boys Bathing  
Date:   1894  
Medium:   Oil on canvas  
Dimensions:   33 9/16 x 58 1/8 in. (85.25 x 147.64 cm) (canvas) 39 1/2 x 69 3/4 x 2 in. (100.33 x 177.17 x 5.08 cm) (outer frame)  
Credit Line:   Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alex Grinager  
Location:   Gallery 302  

Born and raised in Albert Lea, Minnesota, Alexander Grinager pursued a career in art at an early age. In 1867, he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Copenhagen, Denmark, and after finishing his training there, he moved to Paris. In 1894, he returned to Minnesota, renting a studio on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. After only two years, he moved to New York at the urging of several artist friends, who suggested he would find greater fortune in the city. Ironically, it was his painting Boys Bathing that established Grinager's reputation and earned him the greatest critical acclaim of his career - and it was painted in Minneapolis. Grinager's picture depicts a group of boys in various stages of undress about to enjoy the cool waters of the Mississippi River on a sunlit summer day. According to Grinager, the location is the river flats below the old Washington Avenue Bridge, near a shanty town known as Bohemian Flats, built by Scandinavian and Irish immigrants. Nearby was an old stone quarry, which served as a welcome playground for the neighborhood boys. The conventional artistic subject of bathers has been used by artists over the centuries as a means to study the human figure in a range of poses. Boys Bathing recalls the informal realist depiction of male nudes, best exemplified by Swimming by Thomas Eakins. Grinager's approach to the subject, however, is more candid and spontaneous, and his depiction of unidealized immigrant children looks forward to the urban realism of the Ashcan School.

Name:   Grinager, Alexander  
Life Dates:   American, 1865 - 1949  

Object Description  
Inscriptions:   Signature LL in brown oil paint: [Alex Grinager]  
Classification:   Paintings  
Physical Description:   Genre scene of boys bathing at a beach.  
Creation Place:   North America, United States, , ,  
Accession #:   47.23  
Owner:   The Minneapolis Institute of Arts