Carl Ahrens painted this oil sometime around 1890 in Toronto. He used his son, Robert, then about 18 months old, as a model. Robert's granddaughter has a black and white photo of the painting, and it shows Robert sitting on the ground next to a wooden shoe, with his arm in a pottery jug. Apparently as Ahrens painted this picture he became so engrossed in his work that he didn't realize how long he made his son pose. Ahrens' first wife, Emily, discovered that Robert had fainted after a particularly long session, and she told Ahrens he must make plaster casts of the child's arms and work from that. Robert's granddaughter still has the wooden shoe, the jug, and the plaster casts.

For sentimental reasons, the descendants of Ahrens' first family would love to know what happened to this painting. As it was quite famous, and also a portrait, I would also very much like to see it.

The Dutch Cherub

Carl Ahrens (1862-1936)