Kevin's Art Collection
copyright 2008

    I like a lot of different styles of painting. I have had an active interest in art for the past few years, and my tastes are still evolving as I learn and live with my growing collection. I do not collect as an investment but for the fun of it and to feed my enjoyment for doing research and learning. Here are some of my favorites. By the way, I am NOT the wildlife artist of the same name.




Unknown Artists

I am no longer maintaining this page as it had grown so large that is was causing some browsers to die a horrible death, lock up or just respond very slowly. This page has now been broken up into three pages, of which only "Unknown Artists 3" will be updated. Needless to say there may be one day be a page 4, 5, etc. Once I am certain that I did not miss adding anything on this page to one of the other Unknown Artists pages, I will archive this page. Sorry for any inconvenience. Kevin





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unnamed by unknown Russian artist

unnamed, unknown, 20" x 28", oil on board

    Here is an ebay find for which it is possible I will never know more about than I do right now. Here is what the Lithuanian seller, D. Vabolio Enterprises had to say about it:

"I bought it in Latvia Riga. The owner said what here is Riga art academy interior view, was created by Russian artist, but not signed."


    The seller probably meant the Riga Art School. I sent an email to the school to see if anyone recognizes he work of this artist and received the following reply from Dr. Kristiana Abele:

"In response to your inquiry about the studio scene reputedly created by a Russian artist at the Academy of Art in Riga the form of the window niche let me suggest that it could have been painted by a student of the Riga City Art School between 1912 and 1915 when this institution had its provisional premises in St. Jacob's Barracks (Jekaba kazarmas, Jakobs Kaserne) at Torna Street in Riga. In the summer of 1915, the school was closed and evacuated to be continued as the Latvian Academy of Art already in the independent Republic in Latvia from 1921 when it got housed in a building with windows of a very different type. Unfortunately, the lack of additional information makes it impossible to establish the identity of the artist."
 

    Jacob's Barracks is still in existence, having been converted to commercial space and residential housing. I contacted the real estate agents who are the agents for the building and received a reply that said they believed the image to be from the building. They sent me some stock photos of the interior and exterior.


Jacob's Barracks

Jacob's Barracks


    I paid only $10 for this painting, which I really like, but a subsequent offering of another view of the same building by this same artist fetched several hundred dollars. The second, smaller painting was not as good as this one. I made a "Buy it now" offer that was accepted shortly after the works were offered. I suspect I got lucky on this purchase. Too bad it is not signed. There were several other works by this artist from this seller, including two or three more that depicted scenes similar to the one in my collection, several landscapes and figurative works.



verso Lithuanian mystery painting

verso

    The back of the painting shows it has some age, though maybe not the 1900-1940 estimate of the seller. It is in very good condition, so it may have been stored in a favorable environment for some time.


















Paoli painting

unnamed, Paoli, 12" x 10", oil on board

    This was an ebay find. It was presented as the work of Italian artist Bruno Paoli (1915-2005), but it bears no resemblance to his most widely known style and the signature is very different than any other example of his signature that I can find. That makes this attribution very suspect. The seller included several printouts of previous auctions of landscape works attributed to Paoli and one does have a signature that bears a resemblance to the one on my painting, and is from an Italian auction. I cannot say whether or not the style of this painting is similar to those in the printouts as the images are too small and indistinct. It does not appear to be dated, similar to my painting, though Paoli seems to have routinely dated his work from the 1960s onward, using a very distinctive signature. According to a biography in a gallery catalog in my possession, Paoli originally worked as a sculptor and only started painting in the 1950s, so this leaves a very brief window of time for a change in his signature. 
    Paoli is a very common name, with over 700 people by that name in the 1930 census and many more in the current national telephone listings. The seller of this painting was located in San Diego, CA. I suspect this identification was the result of a Google  or on line art site search for prominent artists named Paoli, especially since the seller quoted a biography from the Internet for Bruno Paoli. I contacted the source for this biography, a gallery owner who knew Paoli and represents the largest remaining collection of his work, and she agrees that it is doubtful that is by Paoli. This is a common ebay scenario.
It is an interesting work and the frame had more value than I paid for the painting and frame combined, though, and in a frame size that can be difficult to find used.
    This led to a few hours of pleasant research regarding artists named Paoli. I restricted my search to artists by this name in the United States, since those are the resources that I have available. While there are several men listed with the occupation of "painter" in the genealogical records that I have access to, only one, Peter Edward Paoli, was listed as an artist. There are many kinds of painters, and several of these men were obviously working in occupations like house painters, etc. Peter Paoli, on the other hand, was listed as an artist in many records from 1910 through the 1940s. He was listed as an "artist", "artist, scenic", "artist, commercial", etc. That is not to say that Peter Paoli is the creator of this work, but I find no other records of his work as an artist, and I believe his life and career are worth documenting.


Paoli framed

Framed work


    Peter Edward Paoli was born on 22 February 1880 in Chicago, IL, a son of John and Mary Agnes Hunter Paoli. John was employed as a "Huckster" in the 1880 Chicago census.
John was born in Italy of Italian parents and Mary in Ohio of Irish parents. John died before 1900 and left a widow, one son and three daughters. Peter was living with his mother and sisters (Rose, Addie and Irene) in Chicago during the 1900 census and his occupation was given as "painter". Still living with this mother and two sisters in Chicago, one sister (Rose) having died before the 1910 census, he was employed as an "artist, scenic". Paoli traveled to Europe and returned on 21 August 1914 from Havre, France. He was living in Wilmette, IL on 27 January 1917, when he applied for a U. S. patent for a theatrical device. The device was used to quickly change scenery backdrops on theatrical stages, by queuing several suspended backdrops and using a rope and pulley system for displaying the desired scene. The design was complex and included several features, including lighting.  Paul was again living in Chicago when he completed his WWI Draft Registration card in 1918, and he gave his occupation as "artist actor", if I read it correctly. His mother was listed as someone who would be able to contact him, if needed. Mary Paoli was living in Wilmette, IL with her daughter Irene and son-in-law John Anderson during the 1920 census. Paul has not been located in the 1920 census. Paoli's mother died in Wilmette, Illinois in 1921. Paoli was living alone at 2003 Sedgwick St., Chicago during the 1930 census, an address he would be associated with for several decades. His occupation was "artist, commercial". There is a gap in records until Paoli completed his WWII Draft Registration card in 1942. He was still living at 2003 Sedgwick in Chicago and his employer was given as "own business". For a contact he listed E. Wherle of Chicago. Peter was still living at 2003 "Sedwidge" St. in Chicago, when he returned from a trip to Europe on the ship Constitution on 7 November 1951. The ship departed from Gibraltar. This is the last mention of Paoli that I have found in records.


Paoli SAIC work

Paoli's SAIC work

 
    According to The Art Institute of Chicago School of Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Designing, Architecture. Circular of Instruction for 1902-1903, with Catalogue of Students for 1901-1902, P. E. Paoli was a student in the Life Class, Evening Life Class and the Antique Class. That these entries are for Paul Edward Paoli is confirmed by the address for him that is included in this book, 592 27th St., Chicago. This is the same address where he was living with his family during the 1900 census. Included in this book is an image of an oil painting by Paoli, "Still Life in Color.  Interior, oil". A list of instructors by class taught is included in the book, but it is not possible to tell who his instructors were as there were more than one instructor for each of the classes he took. Some of the instructors are very well known artists. A request for more information about Paoli's attendance at the School of the Art Institute prompted this response:


"Our records show that Mr. Paoli attended SAIC from 1894-95 & 1901-04. There is no mention of a degree."


 
    The World, a theatrical magazine, published 9 April 1921, P. E. Paoli was the scenic artist for the Pepple Agency, a Chicago theatrical booking agency, that was originally called the Unity Vaudeville Agency. This is the only professional reference located for Paoli, so far.
    There is no record of Paoli in the Social Security Death Index.


Paoli signature

Paoli Signature
















Roberts vase

unnamed, Roberts, 12" x 4" x 3", ceramic

    Here is a nice vase, a thrift shop find. Looking inside, it can be seen that this vase is was constructed using the coil method. It is decorated on both sides, with similar, though not exact images of what I think are blue iris flowers. There is also a triple line around the bottom and what I read as the signature "Roberts", on the bottom. This is so well done and striking that I am certain that it is by an established artist. It does not appear to be too old, perhaps later than 1990. Any help in identifying this artist would be appreciated.


Roberts front    Roberts side view    Roberts side
                two   

Views of vase

S


Roberts bottom

Signature
















N. Bell drawing

unnamed, N. Bell, 14" x 8", pen and ink drawing

    A thrift shop find. Nicely done pen and ink drawing that has been framed multiple times. There is residue of tape from two of the previous mountings verso, and a piece of folded scotch tape at the top which is on both sides. The multiple mountings may be an indication of age. The last time it was mounted and framed was by a Bloomington, IL framer who went out of business in the late 1980s. The only record of an artist named Bell with the first initial of "N" was a British artist named Norman Martin Bell (1907-1970). This artist was listed as a painter and was also an author. I have not been able to find any examples of his signature or work. Coincidentally, at the same thrift shop, about the same time, I acquired an etching done about 1925 by the British artist Dorothy F. Sweet.



N. Bell signature

N. Bell signature

    An interesting thing about this drawing is that there is a number written verso on the drawing that was transferred to the framer's label on the back of the drawing. I am not sure of the significance of this number.


Bell number

Number on back of drawing and framed work.


















unnamed by George Meldrum

unnamed, George Meldrum, 24" x 20", oil on fiberboard

    These paintings appear to be the work of a trained and talented artist named George Meldrum. They were purchased from a seller in Roseville, Michigan. No artist by this name is listed in any art reference resource I have examined. There was an artist of this name who was part of a Southern California group known as the "13 Moderns" in 1951. He was from Laguna Beach, CA. There are very few mentions of this group, but the group included some well known California artists; George Meldrum, Leonard Kaplan, Netter Worthington, George Brown and Elizabeth Whipple from Laguna, Milton and Mabel Hutchinson, Rex Brandt, Joan Brandt and Ramona Douglass from Corona del Mar, David Vaughn from Costa Mesa and Phil Dike from Claremont and Everett MacDonald. This group may have only assembled for one exhibition.
    There was also a British artist by this name, but it seems unlikely that he was the creator of these paintings as all mentions of him indicate that he was a sculptor.



unnamed
                  by George Meldrum

unnamed, George Meldrum, 24" x 18", oil on fiberboard, 1958





George Meldrum monogram

George Meldrum monogram




George
              Meldrum signature

George Meldrum signature




George Meldrum inscription

Inscription







Meldrum restored


    This appears to be a painting worth saving, so I used the Gimp to do some touch ups and show what it might look like, if restored. Anything with a cat in it is worth the effort.






















W. Gertrude Walker abstract painting

"Marine life #13", W. Gertrude Walker, 5" x 5", oil on card

    This painting is unsigned but bears a label verso, that has the artist's name "W. G. Walker" and her address in Beverly Hills. This label permitted tracking her to two other addresses, a condo Los Angeles in 1991, and a retirement home in Palm Desert, CA in 1993. Unfortunately  her birth date was not given in the on line directory, as is often the case. There were two women named Gertrude W. Walker in California Death Records and the Social Social Security Death Index, both dying on Orange County, CA in 1994. One of these women had a middle name that would be unlikely to be used as a first name, so can be eliminated. The other woman was Gertrude Winifred Walker, who was born on 4 January 1910 in Uhrichsville, Ohio, a daughter of Clinton S. and Gertrude White Walker. Clinton was employed as a "merchant, tailor shop" in the 1910 census of Uhrichsville, as an "upholsterer, r r shops" and "tailor, tailor shop" in the 1920 and 1930 censuses of Columbus, Ohio. Winifred appeared as both Winifred G. and Gertrude W. in census records, but was listed only as "Gertrude" in the 1910 census. The true order of her first and middle names, is not certain, which makes tracing her more challenging. Winifred Gertrude did not have an occupation in 1930. By 1942 Clinton S. Walker and wife Gertrude had relocated to Los Angeles, CA, according to voter registration records. Both were listed as Democrats. Winifred was not present, but was living with her parents in 1946, according to voter registration records. Mrs. Gertrude Walker died in Los Angeles in 1948 and Clinton died there in 1951. Winifred Gertrude Walker next appears in records in 1973 and 1975 when she was living in Beverly Hills, CA. By 1991 she was living in Los Angeles. She was listed as Gertrude W. Walker in 1973 and as W. Gertrude in 1975, while living at the same address. No other information about her life or work as an artist has been found. Two works by her are known, though the title of one suggests there were numerous others. The two known works were signed or labeled verso, but not signed on front, so there may be works by this artist missing their backing, that would be difficult to attribute. There was also a British artist named Winifred Walker, who could be confused with this artist.



"Trees" W. Gertrude Walker

"Trees", W. Gertrude Walker, 5" x 7", oil on card, 1971


W. Gertrude Walker died on 15 December 1994 in Palm Desert, Riverside, CA.
















unnamed by unknown artist

unnamed, unknown artist, 8" x 10", oil on masonite

    This painting came from the estate of a local woman, Kathryn Ruka Willis in Bloomington, Illinois in 2011. Her husband, Edwin Roy Willis also lived in Bloomington and died there in 1987. He was a professor of zoology at Illinois State University. It could have belonged to either person. It is well done and in a striking frame of some soft wood, perhaps pine. Unfortunately, it is not signed and attempts to contact family members has failed.





unnamed by
              unknown



















O. B. Dye painting

unnamed, O. B. Dye, 10" x 8", oil on board


    I believe these two small paintings to be the work of Olive Bagg Dye, based on the signature. Olive Bagg Dye was born on 19 August 1889 in Lincoln. She studied with her father, Henry Howard Bagg, at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Although Lincoln was her main residence, she was active in Los Angeles during the 1930s. After the death of her husband, Milton Dye, she settled in Los Angeles and remained there until her death. Mrs. Dye was an art teacher had many art students, operating a studio in Lincoln, Nebraska and Los Angeles. She was one of the organizers of the Palette Art Club in Lincoln. She worked as an interior decorator and was a highly skilled painter of landscapes, western genre and mountain scenery similar to that of her father's. She also painted murals. Her work was widely reproduced by the Murphy Calendar Company in Red Oak, IA.  She exhibited at the Nebraska State Fair, 1930 where she won an award. A lengthy biography for her appears in the 4 March 1959 edition of the Lincoln Evening Journal and Nebraska State Journal. Dye is listed in Mallett's Index of Artists, the American Art Annual (1933), Who's Who in American Art, Whos who in the South and Southwest by Larkin (1947), Artists of the West by Dawdy, California Artists 1935 to 1956 by McCall, Dictionary of Women Artists by Pettys and Davenports Art Reference and Price Guide.
    These paintings are obviously extremely dirty, and looking at the edges it is easy to see how bright and striking they would be if cleaned. They are not varnished, so I am not sure how well they could be cleaned, though.
    Olive Bagg Dye
died in Covina, California on 22 February 1977.


O. B.
                  Dye painting

unnamed, O. B. Dye, 10" x 8", oil on board


    There is a partial label on the back of one of the paintings, that might help to date them.


Dye
                  label

Label, verso


Dye
                  signature

Dye signature

Dye
                  signature

Dye signature















W. Bartsch oil painting

"unnamed" by W. Bartsch, 15" x 18", oil on canvas

    This painting was offered as a "very early work by Wilhelm Bartsch". I am very dubious about this attribution, for a couple of reasons. First, the painting is on an American made canvas and bears a stamp that says "The Pfleger Pat." with an 1886 date and a Chicago, IL address. I have found no indication that Wilhelm Bartsch ever traveled to the U.S.  Second, all of the paintings that I have seen that are attributed to Bartsch are signed "W. Bartsch" in cursive. There is some similarity in the "B" in Bartsch on several of these paintings, in that the bottom of the letter is open. One painting, dated 1941, bears a very ornate signature that is unlike any other signature claimed for Bartsch. What I can say about this painting is that it is a very old painting, judging by the toning on the back of the canvas and the age of the stretchers. Another thing that makes it seem certain that this painting is by an American artist named W. Bartsch is that the size of the canvas is indicated on the stretcher as "15" on one bar and "18" on another bar. I purchased this painting because I love bleak winter scenes. My guess would be that this painting dates to the early part of the 20th century, or a bit later. It does appear to be in a European style, but there were numerous Bartsch men of German extraction in the U.S. in censuses in the early 1900s whose first initial was "W" who might have been the artist.


Bartsch frame stamp

Stamp on stretcher. Note the number 18, indicating the stretcher length in inches.

    This stamp, or some variation of it, was apparently used for several decades. I have seem paintings created in the 1940s that are noted to have a similar stamp on the stretcher. Most of the works by Bartsch that I have seen offered for sale either sold for or were offered in the low thousands of dollars. I paid $40 for this painting and noted that it had previously been offered for $100 with not takers.




W. Bartsch signature

W. Bartsch signature
















"Casa Sondriendo" by Laura
              J. Armstrong

"Casa Sondriendo", L. J. Armstrong, 16" x 20", oil, summer 1963

    I found this in an antique shop in Atlanta, IL. The shop owner told me that he found it in a local auction. The artist added a very informative set of inscriptions verso, that give the title and date, along with information about where the artist sat while painting the work. The artist, Laura J. Armstrong, also fully signed the work on back. All that being said, I have found no mention of this artist. It came in a particularly nice pickled oak frame. There are only three women with this name in the Social Security Death Index. Only one lived in Florida. She was born on 11 April 1898 and died on 30 August 1994 in Saint Cloud, Osceola County which is some distance from Ft. Lauderdale where this painting was done. Her Social Security number was issued in Missouri.


verso


Verso


Laura J.
              Armstrong signature

















Hottingh or Nottingh painting

unnamed, Hottingh? Nottingh?, 18" x 24", oil? acrylic?

    Found this at the local thrift shop. It appears to have been painted with a knife. I think it is an oil, but it could be acrylic. The signature is very close to being readable, but I just can't make it out. Very colorful. I originally bought it for the frame, but soon began to really like it, especially once I saw it in good light. It would be shame to not identify this artist.


Hottingh signature















#612 by Geo. Wood

unnamed by Geo. Wood, 8" x 10", oil on card, #612

    This is one of a pair of paintings by George Wood that were offered by an ebay seller in Palisades, New York in April 2011. Both paintings were numbered verso, #612 and #615. This leads me to believe that this was more than a casual artist. The other painting was better done, in my opinion, but was sold before I spotted them. The other painting was signed "G. Wood", and mine is signed "Geo. Wood".


#615 by G. Wood

unnamed, G. Wood, #615


    The seller estimated these paintings to be circa 1920, but I think they may be a bit earlier. Both paintings also had the letters "E D" in pencil verso. I suspect that these paintings are the work of George Albert Wood 1845-1910, but I am still researching this possibility.






Geo.
                    Wood signature




Geo.
                    Wood signature













Mystery landscape

unnamed, unknown, 10" x 12", oil

    I found this is a local thrift shop and paid only about $5 for it. It was well framed by a local frame shop that was in business in the 1950s to 1980s. There is what appears to be signature in the lower right corner, but I cannot make it out. It is painted on a commercial canvas board that has been cut down to this size. The canvas board does not have a manufacturer's mark on it. The framer, Chester Wonderlin, advertised himself as the largest framer east of the Mississippi River, a tongue in cheek claim based on his 300 pounds plus weight. Probably won't be  able to find out more about this piece. I like these kind of Fauvist, soft landscapes, which seem to have been in fashion in the 1940s and 1950s. I have several that can be traced to various parts of the country, so assume that there was some movement associated with this style.





Mystery landscape signature

















Williams oil

unnamed, Williams, 14" x 11.5", oil

    Don't really expect to find out anything about this painting, but it is a bit unusual. It is and odd size, painted on a home made canvas glued on a thick plywood board, which may be a clue for those who know this artist. The signature is a bit unique, too, composed of upper and lower case letters. I like the simplicity of this piece and the colors. It was purchased on ebay in March 2011 from the Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee.


Williams verso

verso


Williams signature

Signature














Helen Bodine, "Methow Valley
              Barn"

"Methow Valley Barn", Helen Bodine, 5" x 7", oil

    Kind of a mystery artist. I have found a couple of other paintings by this artist, both with Washington state roots. Methow Valley is in Okanogan County, Washington, so my guess would be that Bodine was a Washington State artist. The other two paintings I have seen were mountain scenes and Methow Valley is in a mountainous region. One auction for another painting described Bodine as an artist who died in 1958, but I have not been able to confirm this.







Bodine
              signature


















Unknown artist - Yucca painting

unnamed, unknown, 5" x 6", oil

    Just a nice little painting of a yucca tree. The artist's management of light and shadow is better than this image shows. It is not signed and is painted on a small stretched canvas that is stapled into the very attractive frame with brads. I bought it knowing that it would be a mystery painting, but really like it.

















unknown artist

unnamed,Fizesil, 10" x 8", oil

    I found this on ebay and paid very little for it. I think it is a fairly well done portrait, at least the face. The signature is awkwardly signed, with the last letter of the name wrapped around the side of the canvas. The name is so odd the I doubted that I was reading it correctly until I found three other mentions of the artist's work, two figurative works of females, one identified as a "gypsy". The subject of the third painting, from a Swedish auction, was unidentified. The style of the painting makes me think this was painted in the 1970s, perhaps. The frame is a fairly interesting 1970s or 1980s vintage frame, made in Mexico. The seller was located in Woodland Hills, California. I'll get a better image of the painting and signature when time permits.

















J. Hutson "A Fall
              Spectacular"

"A Fall Spectacular", J. Hutson, 2.5" x 3.5", acrylic, 2010


    I am generally not a fan of miniature or ACEO-type paintings, but this one was very nicely framed and matted, and as a package, quite striking. It is signed, titled and dated, verso. It was very inexpensive, as well, so hard to pass up. I like Fall scenes and this one is very well done, with lots of detail and nice use of light and shadow. Unfortunately, I cannot find out anything about the artist. Any help would be appreciated. I purchased this from a dealer in Ipswich, Massachusetts, so this may be a New England artist.


J. Hutson framed

Framed painting


Hutson
                    inscription

Inscription, verso



















Melodie Song painting

unnamed, Melodie Song, 11" x 14", oil, 1973

    This was an ebay find, purchased from a seller in Monrovia, California. I believe it is by a California artist, as the frame is a standard style that I have seen on several California paintings from this period. Other than that, there are no clues as to the history of this artist. The name almost seems to be made up. I have not been able to find any mention of this artist, though I did find mentions of an alternate spelling, Melody Song, though nothing for an artist. The Song surname appears to be either Chinese or Korean. The work seems to be more complex than that of an amateur, so I would suspect that there are other works out there by this artist. This is possibly Monument Valley, if an actual place.







Melodie Song signature

Signature from painting
















Montford winter scenes

unnamed, Montford, 4" x 5", oil

    I purchased these two small paintings on ebay from a seller in London, Ontario, Canada. The bridge scene is not signed, but there is a notation verso that says "R. D. Montford".  This may or may not have been added by the artist. The paintings are in identical frames and well presented.



Framed Montford painting


Framed Montford painting


    These are obviously fairly contemporary paintings, probably painted in the past 20-30 years. The artist may be Canadian or British. There were, and are, several active artists named Montford, but I could find no examples of works or signatures that were similar to these works. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who can identify this artist.



Montford signature

Montford signature














Unknown artist, street scene


unnamed, unknown, 7" x 10", watercolor


    I purchased this from a seller who believed it to be done by a French artist. He also believed that he had seen or owned other work by this artist in the past, but could not remember the artist's name. Unfortunately, it is so lightly signed in pencil in the lower right corner that neither he nor I could make out the signature. Just a nice little watercolor.













H. Harvey painting

unnamed, H. Harvey,4" x 6", oil

    Paintings by H. Harvey are fairly common and were produced in apparently large quantities by this artist for the Woodstock Workshop, as shown by the label on the back of this painting, and several other examples of the artist's work that I have seen. Several artists created small paintings for this art colony, some later well known artists, and others, like Harvey, obscure. Much of this artist's work appears to be very crude, especially the small works. Some of the artist's larger works, and a few of his small works, are more well done, though I have seen only three or four examples of these larger works and all were in the 8" x 10" to 12" x 16" size range. It is difficult to date this artist's work as the Woodstock Workshop seems to have been active from the 1930s through the 1950s, but my guess is that these works were produced in the later years of this range.


Woodstock Art
                    Association label

Label, verso


    Paintings by this artist have been attributed to Harold LeRoy Harvey 1899-1971. I am not comfortable with this attribution at this time, I actually do not believe that this attribution to be correct, but list information for this artist as I found no comprehensive biography for him.
Harold LeRoy Harvey was born 7 July 1899 in Baltimore, Maryland, a son of Harry D. and Mary C. Harvey. Harry D. Harvey was employed as "Secty. R. W. Supply Co. Maryland, USA." in Baltimore in 1900 and as a "manufacturer, chemical" in the 1910 Baltimore census. Harold LeRoy Harvey completed his WWI draft registration, giving his occupation as "commercial surveyor" and employer as "United States government". Harold was still living at home in 1920, and gave his occupation as "Art Student, Oil Painting". Harry D. Harvey was employed as a "manufacturer, Iron and Steel" in 1920. Harold applied for a passport in 1921 indicating his desire to travel to France, Greece, England, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland for the purpose of "Study of Art". This application contains a document signed by his parents attesting to his date of birth and place of birth as 606 North Carrollton Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland. Harold traveled to Europe in 1922 and left Cherbourg, France when he came home. Harold applied for a passport again in 1923, noting that he had last applied for a passport in 1921. He indicated his intent to travel to Portugal, Gibraltar, Spain, Monaco, France, Italy, Finland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Greece, Constantinople, Palestine, Egypt, British Isles, Switzerland, Assyria, Damascus, Aleppo, and other places which were obscured by binding of the pages. His objective as noted as "Study and Travel". He appears on several passenger lists in the 1920s. He had adopted a very stylized signature which he used on his passport applications. I do not know if he continued to use this signature. His applications also included a photo, though the 1921 application photo was very poor.


Harold LeRoy Harvey
                    passport photo

Harold Harvey passport
                    signature

Passport photo and signature



    Harvey is  listed in Davenport’s, Who’s Who in American Art, Who Was Who in American Art, Fieldings, etc. He was an illustrator, painter, photographer and designer, though perhaps best known as a photographer. According to Falk, Harvey studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art where he was a pupil of McCarter, Despujols, Baudouin, Turner, and M. Denis. I have read that he was an assistant to Man Ray from 1920-1923, but have not been able to confirm this. If true, this likely took place in  Paris, as Ray relocated there in 1921. This claim does not really fit well with the extensive travel plans noted in Harvey's passport applications, so I expect the truth is somewhere in between. I have also read that he was interested in experimental printing, and developed "777" liquid film developer and several toners. He later founded the Harvey Chemical Company in New Jersey, but his Social Security number was issued in Maryland in the early 1950s.
















    mystery park
              painting


unnamed, unknown, 16" x 20", oil

    This was an ebay find. I can't decide if it is amateurish or if it is sophisticated in its simplicity. Maybe I was simple for buying it. I really like the colors and all of the action in the piece, though. I think it is just a fun piece and it was very inexpensive. I guess I'll call it a good buy, because I think the entertainment value will repay the small price I paid for it. Unfortunately, it is not signed, so I bought it knowing that I will probably never know anything about it. I purchased it in October 2010 from a seller in Vermillion, Ohio, but I have also found that this seller has a Wilton, Connecticut address. Maybe an importer, though this is not a new piece. The seller is also connected to an art and picture frame restoration and interior decorating business, I discovered.

















H. Larimore
              painting #1

unnamed, H. Larimore, 12" x 16", oil

    I purchased three paintings by this artist out of about a dozen that the Tuscon seller listed on ebay. Some of the paintings that were sold before I discovered these auctions were quite striking. All three of mine are painted on Grumbacher Plyex Canvas Board. The seller found them at a church based thrift shop. I am undecided about the skill level of this artist. The paintings seem deceptively simple in style at first glance, but are well composed and complex when examined more closely.



H. Larimore painting #2

unnamed, H. Larimore, 16" x 12", oil

    Both the seller and I suspect that the paintings came from the estate of a Tuscon citizen. The only Larimore with the first initial "H." who died in Arizona was, according to the Social Security Death Index, Harry J. Larimore. Harry J. Larimore was born in Plainville, Illinois on 13 January 1919, a son of Harry W. and Nellie M. Larimore. Harry W. Larimore was working as a farmer in Pike County, Illinois in 1920 and in Hand County, South Dakota in 1930. Harry Larimore was living in Seligman, Arizona at the time of his death. He died on 31 March 2004 at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Prescott, Arizona. There is a very brief obituary for Harry in a Prescott newspaper.



Larimore painting #3

unnamed, H. Larimore, 12" x 16", oil


    I have been able to find out very little about Harry J. Larimore, so far. The search continues.....











J. Nichols
              painting

"Connecticut March" (?), J. Nichols, 8" x 10", oil, 1950

    This painting was purchased from a seller in New York City who said "this is a antique oil painting i just acquired at a high end thrift in new york city just came out of a penthouse on central park west". I'll get a better picture of if by and by. What is apparently the title and date are lightly penciled on the dust cover where it is glued to the frame. I am not certain the second word in the title is "March", but the first two letters do appear to be "Ma". There are several Nichols artists listed in Davenport's Art Reference and Price Guide who had the first initial "J", and there were probably many more who were never listed. I guess I would say this is done in the Fauvist style, and the seller estimated it to be a 1940s vintage painting. I doubt that this seller has the knowledge to make this judgment and also they have not been particularly truthful with me and other customers in the past, so the seller's statement is not that credible. I do really like the painting, though, especially the colors, depth and style of it. I also like that it is thinly painted, except for some heavier work in the clouds. It did come in a vintage frame and it is obvious it had not been out of the frame for many years. It seems unlikely that I will be able to discover the identity of this artist.



J. Nichols signature













Clute
              painting

unnamed, Clute, 16" x 20", oil

    This painting was purchased at an auction in Allentown, PA. There were at least three listed artists named Clute who were active in New York City, which is not far away. One died in 1914, long before this painting was created. This painting probably dates from the 1940s. There may have been other artists with the same surname, so it is by no means certain that one of the two remaining artists created this painting. The bridge in the painting, if it is based on an existing bridge, may be a clue as to the identity of the artist. I suspect that the bridge is in either New York or Pennsylvania. I would appreciate hearing from anyone who recognizes it.





Clute
              signature

Signature

















Yaffe marine
              painting

unnamed, Yaffe, 7" x 9", oil

    This was an ebay find, which I purchased because I liked the painting and the frame it is in. The seller represented it as the work of either Edith or Herman Yaffee. I was pretty sure it was by neither of these artists since it was signed twice as "Yaffe", once on the back of the canvas and once on the back of the frame. When pressed the seller said it was definitely the work of Herman because it was in his style and in the type of frame that he used. When I asked where the seller had seen Yaffee's work before he replied that he had seen them on www.AskArt.com. No works for Yaffee are shown on AskArt's web site, and when I sent an email to AskArt, they said that they had no images of works by this artist. Enough said. The seller was located in Morrisville, PA.



Yaffe canvas signature

Yaffe signature on back of canvas



    There quite a few artists named Yaffee or Yaffe, so I am not optimistic about finding out more about this artist. Especially since this piece is pushing 100 years old. It is a neat painting, in a neat frame, and it gives me the opportunity to tell the sordid story of Herman and Edith Widing Yaffee, who were man and wife. Sort of.


Yaffe frame verso


    Edith Louise Widing was born on Helsingfors, Finland on 16 January 1895, probably the daughter of Rudolph and Elvira K. Widing. They arrived in Boston on 19 May 1910 on the ship Saxonia from Sweden. Rudolph's occupation was listed as lithographer. Ivar Widing, probably Edith's brother, arrived from Sweden on the Saxonia on 21 April 1905. The Widing family was living in Boston, MA in 1914. At the same address were Ivar Widing, illustrator, of Munro and Widing, and Rudolph Widing, lithographer. All three were still at the same address in 1915 and 1916. Edith was not listed in the Widing home after 1916, probably because she married Herman Albert Yaffee. (in progress)






Yaffe frame
              signature

Signature on back of frame

















Johnson
              print

"Cloud Chase", ? Johnson, 15" x 17", serigraph from photograph(s), Artist's Proof

    Please excuse the reflection of my arms and camera in this one. This print is expensively framed, and I do not want to take it apart to get a better image. It is a pretty striking piece, on very expensive paper, with what appears to be gold foil edging. I am not normally a print person, but this one is so well presented that I could not abandon it to it's fate at the Habitat for Humanity store in Champaign, Illinois where I found it hanging. I can't make out the artist's first initial. It could be an "A" or a "C", or maybe even a "G". I am guessing that it is a serigraph created from a photograph or superimposed photographs. Prints are really not my thing, so this is a WAG. I guess you could say that the whole paper is the image, since it is mounted on a background with the watermark prominent in the lower right corner. This would make the dimensions of the piece 4-6" bigger than given above. It is an artist's proof for what that is worth. No idea who the artist is. This could be the work of a student at the University of Illinois, as the store where I purchased it is only a couple of blocks from the campus. Not too many students could afford this presentation, IMHO. Any help in identifying this artist would be appreciated.


Johnson print title    Johnson
                  proof mark    Johnson
                  print signature

Title, proof mark, signature

















Phyllis
              Miller gouache

unnamed, Phyllis Miller, 22" x 30", gouache


    I originally had this on my "Other Artists" page, as I was confident that I would be able to fairly quickly identify this artist. Oops! My preliminary research turned up three artists by this name who were active in the period, 1970-2000, when I thought the painting was done, even though the frame appears to be much older, perhaps dating to the 1950s. I quickly eliminated two of the Phyllis Millers, one deceased of Hendersonville, NC (she signed her works Rueggeberg Miller according to her family) and one very much living of Los Angeles, CA. The third artist I eliminated after viewing her work and signature. A little more digging disclosed several other artists by this name, one a Professor Emeritus at the University of Houston. So the search continues. 


Framed Miller painting

Framed painting


    Here are the clues that I currently have about this painting. The seller of the painting was located in Monrovia, CA. The seller had had two other watercolors by this artist, one of a cat and one of a fox. This leads me to believe that this was a local (Los Angeles County) artist. The artist seems to have been a serious amateur or trained artist. There are pencil marks visible beneath the paint, so the work was apparently carefully planned and executed.





Phyllis
                Miller signature













F. Money oil

unnamed, F. Money, 12" x 9", oil

    This is an oil on canvas. The seller dated it to the 1950s. There was a French artist named Raoul Billon (1882-1956), who painted under the name Fred Money. Don't ask. I don' know why. There are some similarities to the signature on this painting to Fred Money's signature, but some dissimilarities, too. I do not think this is the work of Fred Money, AKA Raoul Billon, but thought I'd mention it.... I found several of his works on the Internet, and his style is not similar. Nothing in the painting to give clue as to the locale, just two kids flying kites. I like it because I only paid $5 for it, and also because it is interesting. I find myself straining to make out the faces of the children, but know I never will be able to. 

UPDATE: I was contacted by a lady who has two paintings similar in style, color palette, subject, and signature to my painting. They were purchased about 1970 by lady's grandmother in Texas. She was told by the seller that the performer Carol Burnett was a collector of this artist's work. One is signed "Fred Money" and the other "F. Money". Unfortunately, I also found several images of paintings that are proved to be by the French artist. The style and signature of these works are very different from my work and the two similar works. I suppose that it is possible that the French artist's style and signature changed over time, but think that this is a stretch. I did find a fourth work very similar in style and signature to my painting, and the other two paintings, that was offered in an online American auction as the work of the French artist, but I am not convinced that this attribution is correct. This remains a mystery, in my opinion.






F. Money
              signature

Signature












Unknown
              artist "Mountain lake"

unnamed, unknown, 10" x 8", oil

    This small painting hung in a local thrift shop for several weeks, maybe months. I paid only a couple of dollars for it, and since it came in a decent, common sized frame, I don't regret it. It is rather oddly colored and though signed, the signature is largely illegible. I can only make out the first three letters of the artist's name, "B - r - u". It is painted on an "Anco Bilt" canvas, manufactured in Glendale, NY. I think that later these canvases were manufactured in Taiwan. I have no other information on this painting. It may be one of the thousands of paintings commercially produced for hotels, etc., in the last half of the twentieth century.


"Mountan lake" frame
                  stamp

Canvas maker's stamp


    The "ANCO BILT" stamp appears several times on the back of this painting.



Mountain
                lake verso

Numbers on back of canvas

    There are  a couple of numbers on the back of the canvas, one stamped and one in black marker, which may be inventory numbers. This strengthens my suspicion that this painting was commercially generated and once hung in a hotel, motel, etc. It may be by an American artist, judging by the age and origin of the canvas, I have several of these small commercial oils, and some are quite attractive. I am guessing that generations of frustrated, well trained artists, made extra cash cranking out these types of paintings, until much of this work went to other countries like Mexico and Taiwan, where they could be purchased in bulk for pennies, as opposed to a few dollars in the U.S. I am not sure that this happened, but is seems logical from the information I have seen.


Mountain lake signature

Signature from this painting


    I am now seeing machine generated oils that can be cranked out like ten dollar watches, many identical paintings. I was quite amazed when I found a whole stack of such paintings at a local used furniture store. I have to wonder if the better done of these small American painted commercial paintings might not become collectibles, as it seems that Paint by Numbers paintings are becoming? Time will tell...












Mystery
              monotype #1

unnamed, unknown, 1 7/8" x 5 7/8", monotype, 1/1, 1991

    I found these two small monotypes in a local pawn shop. They are beautifully framed and matted. They have the framing label of a local framing shop, that is no longer in business. I took them to a framer who sometimes does some work for me, and coincidentally it turns out that he worked for the same framer at this time, but could not tell me anything about them. They are quite striking.


Mystery monotype #2

unnamed, unknown, 1 7/8" x 5 7/8", monotype, 1/1, 1991

    Both are signed and numbered 1/1 below the print, but I cannot read the signatures. The first initial appears to be a "D".


Monotype #1 signature


Monotype #2 signature













Jewel Oil
              painting

unnamed, Jewel, 9" x 12", oil, 1952


    This is an ebay find, purchased from a dealer in Los Angeles, CA. The seller speculated that it might be the work of California artist Jewel Cooper. Her work pops up on ebay fairly regularly, but little information about her is available. All of the other works by her that I have seen are fully signed "Jewel Cooper" and dated similarly to the work in my collection. The signature is very similar to my painting, though, and I am more and more leaning toward accepting the seller's attribution. All of the other works I have seen are from the 1960s and 1970s, so it is very possible that she changed her signature, at some point, adding her last name. The other paintings that I have seen are in a similar, though more sophisticated style, and of similar subject matter. It is likely that this is one of her earlier works.
    There is very little information available about Jewel Cooper, so I compiled a biography for her, though I have not been able to absolutely confirm that there were not two Jewel Coopers working as artists in California.
    Jewel Ida Kelton Cooper was born on 25 November 1902 in Ridge, Fayette County, AL, a daughter of Lytle Alexander and Ellen Janette Bynum Kelton. Lytle Kelton was working as a coal miner in 1910. Jewel married Ottis Lee Cooper on 6 October 1951. Ottis was also born in Alabama and was first married to Abbie Lee. Cooper is mentioned several times as State Commander of the American Legion, living in Red Level, Alabama in the mid and late 1940s. I do not know where Jewel and Ottis were married.
They may have married in Alabama. I have not been able to locate Ottis and Jewel as a couple in records prior to 1952 when they appeared in the voter registration records of Los Angeles, CA.  They were registered as Democrats, living at 11608 Archwood St. in 1952 and 1954.  Jewel is mentioned several times in the Van Nuys News in the early 1960s in connection with her work as an artist. She was an art teacher and Art Chairman of the North Hollywood Women's Club. She held a one woman show at the Security First National Bank on Ventura Blvd. in Studio City, CA in 1961. The newspaper reported that she had won many awards for her work as a landscape artist. Jewel was the Recording Secretary of the Valley Art Guild in 1961 and "Otis" Cooper was mentioned as an honorary member of that organization. I have found no record of where Jewel received her training as an artist. She is not mentioned in any art reference work.
    Jewel Cooper died on 18 October 1992 in Sun City, CA. Ottis died in Sun City on 1 July 1985. Ottis Cooper was a 2nd Lieutenant in WWI and he and Jewel are buried in the Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, CA.





Jewel
                signature











Joseph Sacks

unnamed, Joseph Sacks, 16" x 12", oil

    This was an ebay purchase. There was a well known artist of the same name, whose signature is very similar, but I have not been able to confirm that this painting is by that well known artist. It could be another artist of the same name. I just liked the colors and style of this painting. The seller said that the painting came from the San Francisco area and the well known Joseph Sacks lived in California at some point in Pasadena, Los Angeles, and Altadena. I have seen one reference that places him in San Francisco. I am including a biography of the well known Joseph Sacks below.
     Joseph Sacks was born on 1 September 1887 in Shavli, Russia, a son of Isaac and Ida Sacks, Russian Jewish immigrants. Isaac came to the US in 1888 and was joined by his wife and son in 1891. Isaac worked as a peddler in 1900 and 1910, in Philadelphia. Joseph's birth month and year are given as July 1886 in the 1900 census but in 1910, his age was given as 22 which fits, as the date of the census was 21 April 1910. Joseph's occupation in 1910 was "artist, studio". Sacks declared his intent to become a U.S. Citizen on 4 June 1909, while residing at 401 Dallas Street, San Antonio, Texas. His occupation was given as "artist" and his description as 5' 4" tall, 120 lbs., brown hair, and blue eyes. It was noted the he arrived in New York City on the ship Arizona on 3 August 1892 from Liverpool, England. On page two of his petition for naturalization dated 22 May 1914, he was residing at the same address as that in his WWI draft registration. His father, Isaac, and a neighbor, Louis Miller, witnessed his petition.  He was granted citizenship on 15 September 1914. Sack's WWI draft registration gives his birth date and place, marital status as single, and his occupation as "artist painter", employed by "Kimsey 1026 Chesnut Street", Philadelphia. The registration also contains a very nice example of his signature, as do his declaration of intent and petition for naturalization. I was not able to  locate the Sacks family in the 1920 census, but I did find them in Philadelphia in the 1930 census. Isaac was deceased and Ida was the head of the household. Ida owned the home, which was valued at $17,000, a lot of money for the time. Of her four children living at home, three were employed in the tailoring business, which may indicate that Isaac was a tailor. Joseph was employed as an "artist, portrait shop". I next find Joseph in records in his WWII draft registration. He was living in Philadelphia, and gave his contact as Ida Sachs. I don't know if this was his mother or wife of the same name. They were living at the same address, though. He was employed as "artist, portrait painter".
    Sacks attended the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and was supposed to be a student of Thomas Pollock Anshutz, William Sergeant Kendall, and William Merritt Chase. Sacks was a member of the Philadelphia Sketch Club and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. He also studied in Europe for several years. He lived in California in the 1930s. He is mentioned in Who Was Who in American Art by Falk, Artists of the American West by Dawdy, Mallett's Index of Artists, Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors, and Engravers by Fielding, and Davenport's Art Reference and Price Guide.
    Sachs died in May 1973 in Philadelphia.



Joseph Sacks
              signature




signature
              from Sacks' estate painting

Signature from estate painting


    The image of the first signature above is from my painting. The next image is of Sacks signature from a painting the was signed lower left, like mine, and was stamped verso with the estate stamp from Sacks' estate. They are very similar. I have seen several other examples of his signature that are also very similar and a few paintings on the same size canvas. I'll get a better image of the signature from my painting, when time permits.
















Toth framed
              painting

unnamed, unknown, 12" x 18", gouache

    I have had this painting for quite some time, but only recently put it back together after taking it apart for cleaning. There is a framer's label on the back of the painting for Robert Richard Toth's gallery and framing services. It is not signed, but I felt certain it was his work as it is very similar to a couple of paintings from his archive of works from private collections on his web site.


Toth card

Business card, verso


    I was eventually able to contact Mr.Toth, and he told me that this is not his work, but probably something that he framed for someone. He could not tell me anything else about the work. Since it is not signed, I will probably not be able to find out any more about it. It is very well done, obviously the work of a talented artist, and I like it very much.



Toth framing

Toth framed painting












E. P. Becher

unnamed, E. P. Becher, 12" x 16", oil

    This was an ebay find, purchased from a seller in Nottingham, England. The seller estimated it to be a 1930s or 1940s painting. It is not signed on the front, but is signed verso, E. P. Becher, which may or may not be the artist. There is a framer's label that reads: "W. F. Gadsby Ltd, Thrale Galleries (late Humphreys) 326-328 Streatham High Road, S.W.16, London". This should help to date the painting, if anyone out there is familiar with this gallery. W. F. Gadsby Ltd. still exists, and I have sent them an inquiry about this label. The seller described the style as "vintage abstract impressionist" which doesn't fit with the seller's age estimate, since this was a 1950s movement. I'd class it as more impressionistic. I think it evokes the same feeling as one of Monet's haystack paintings. I'll get a picture without the glare in the center of the painting, when time permits.


Becher label

 











Clatworthy
              oil

unnamed, Clatworthy, 8" x 10", unknown media

    I purchased this from a dealer in Burbank, California. I am not sure if it is an oil or an acrylic. It is very well done, but I can find out nothing about the artist, despite the rather unique signature. There have been a couple of prominent artists by this name, but I am pretty sure that this is not their work. Any help on identifying this artist would be appreciated.




Clatworthy
                signature













Wailing Wall
              by unknown artist

unnamed, unknown, 9.5" x 13.5", oil

    I found this painting at a local thrift shop. It appears to be a scene at the Wailing Wall. It was very well framed in a modern metal frame and archivally matted, and seems well painted, but in a primitive style. It is signed in Hebrew in the lower right, but I have not been able to translate it using what on line resources I have been able to find. I would appreciate if someone could translate the signature for me. I removed the painting from its frame to examine the back, but there is, unfortunately, nothing written there, so these are all the clues we get. I looked at this painting for several weeks as it migrated from a place on the wall beside the checkout register, to less glorious places, and finally to an odds and ends painting pile. I always liked the colors and style, but kept putting off buying it, until "next time". I finally decided that I couldn't live without it, so here we are.



Wailing Wall signature

Signature?













Mimmoy

unnamed, Mimmoy, 24" x 30", oil

    I found this at a local thrift shop for $18. It appears to be signed "Mimmoy". I have been able to find out nothing about this artist. It appears to be coastal scene, judging by the fact that this seems to be painted at low tide. It could be a Maine scene. It is painted on a Grumbacher 24 canvas, and has kind of a 1950s or 1960s feel to me. Just a guess. Any help on this one would be appreciated.



Mimmoy
              signature













Catallo
              "The Sleepless Village"

"The Sleepless Village", Catallo, 16" x 20", acrylic, 2001

    I found this one on ebay from a seller in Rockport, MA. I am still researching this artist. The seller read the name as "Cataldo", but I think it is Catallo. What do you think?


Catallo signature












F. A. Bixler
              Bluebird

"Bird in the woods", F. A. Bixier, 9" x 15", oil

    An ebay find. These two paintings were not on stretchers, and were part of a lot of 13 wildlife paintings by the same artist. They are pleasant, pretty well done, and were cheap. I really liked the squirrel painting, and thought this bird painting was the second best of the lot. A quick Internet search revealed nothing about this artist. Research in progress.....


F. A. Bixler Squirrel

"Squirrel in the branches", F. A. Bixler, 9" x 15", oil

    These paintings are old enough that the canvas they are painted on have some age toning, which cannot be seen in the paintings, themselves. They are just pleasant little paintings. The seller was located in Bridgeport, CT.


Bixler signature


















 Ysobel

Ysobel, unknown, 20" x 16", oil

    I purchased this painting on ebay for a small sum from a seller in Southgate, Michigan. I like portraits, though many folks don't. I did not expect to find out much about it, as it is not signed. A little research, however, revealed that the name Ysobel is very rare.  Since this painting is dated 1931, I thought I'd take a stab at finding something out about the subject. There were only 16 men and women by this name in the 1930 US census, and lo and behold one of the women, Ysobel Crue Lopez, lived in Detroit, about 21 minutes from Southgate. Possibly just a coincidence, but I am including the information about her and the main members of the household she lived in, in case this rings a bell with someone who may see this web site.
    Ysobel Crue Lopez was born about 1901 in Mexico, of Mexican parents and emigrated to the US about 1915. She married Elis Lopez about 1919 and their first child, Beatrice, was born in Michigan about 1920. Elis was an inspector in an automobile factory. Ysobel's father, Benigno Crue was living with the Lopez family in 1930. He had no occupation and was a widower. Elis and Ysobel also had; Pola, Juana, Luis, Cresensio, and Eline. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate any of these folks in any other record.














Sanchez
              painting

"TAXCO, GRO.", Sanchez, 14" x 20", watercolor

    I found this one at a local thrift shop for a couple of dollars. It looked like a sepia toned watercolor, as opposed to a print, and it was cheap, so I took a chance. It is indeed a sepia colored watercolor. That is all that I know about it. Taxco was a popular town for art minded Americans in the 1950s and maybe 1960s. I have several paintings in my collection by artists who moved there to live and pursue their art, or visited to pursue their art. Any information about this artist would be appreciated.


Sanchez signature

Sanchez signature










ek potter

unnamed, EK (monogram), 24" x 18", oil

    This was an ebay find. It is signed with monogram "EK" in the lower right. As I recall, I purchased this from a seller in Tennessee. It is very dirty, but also varnished, so lots of glare as seen on the left side of the painting, and it sat in my difficult painting pile for many months, until I had time to fuss with getting an acceptable image of it. In general fairly well done, I think, but the artist seems to have a problem with painting hands, which I think are awkwardly done. The artist does a fair job with light and shadow, though. I don't feel that there is much of a sense of motion in the painting, given that the pot is supposed to be spinning on the potter's wheel. I paid very little for this one, just tossed out a minimal bid and won it. My gut says that this may be a work by a student in some art program, probably at the university level. Not sure why I feel this way, just an impression. What appear to be scratches on the painting are actually glare from the texture of the artist's brush strokes.




ek potter
              signature














May Day,
              unknown artist

unnamed, after Maurice Prendergast, 14.5" x 19.5", watercolor

    I found this at a local thrift shop. It is extremely well framed and sealed, so I have not taken it apart to look for a signature or title. No signature is visible on the front of the painting. This appears to be a loose copy of "May Day, Central Park", by Maurice Prendergast. It is not an exact copy, and is not signed where Prendergast's painting is signed. This may be an homage to Prendergast by an admiring artist. It was framed by Beach Arts of Bonita Springs, Florida. The glass was so dirty that it appeared quite washed out, but I was surprised at how rich the colors were, once the glass was cleaned. A pleasant surprise. I looked at it for several weeks, before deciding to buy it. It is a painting that grows on you. There is certainly a lot going on in this painting. I have no real hope to find out more about it, so just going to enjoy it. I made a place for it on my wall, even though I have many other, more sophisticated works looking for a place to hang.













Mary Alice

unnamed, Mary Alice, 20" x 16", oil

    The artist signed this painting simply "Mary Alice". I think that the figure is pretty well done, and I like the colors. The use of light and shadow, though understated, is nice, too. It came in pretty cool frame, as well. Someone, not necessarily the artist, included a Bible verse using an ink pen on the back of the dust cover, Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.". It is hard to to tell how old this painting is, but probably from the 1970s or 1980s, I'd guess. The seller claimed it came from a high end estate sale. I suspect that this may be a piece done by a member of a religious order. Communities of religious orders often commit extensive resources to the creation of art, often not religious based art. This may well be a work by "Sister Mary Alice".
    Any help in identifying his artist would be appreciated.




mary alice

Signature










Sasso
              painting

"Tartanes A Quai, St. Tropez", T. (or J.) Spisso, 10" x 8", oil, ca 1944

    This was an ebay find. The seller said that his father purchased this painting on his way back from WWII in 1944. That is all I know about it. This signature is a bit hard to make out, but I believe it is Spisso. The person I purchased it from read it as Sasso. There was an Argentinian artist named Liberato Spisso, but he was born in 1930 and I find no evidence that he ever traveled to Europe. Any help in identifying this artist would be appreciated. Tartanes were barques, or small ships that were used on the Mediterranean. I have read that they went out of use in the late 19th century.


Spisso signature

Spisso signature










 Agnew
              painting

unnamed, C. M. Agnew, 12" x 10", oil

    The only artist that I can find listed that could possibly be this artist is Clark M. Agnew, but this is just a guess.  Clark Mansfield Agnew was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on 20 June 1905 a son of William Livingston and Laura Jay Waynick Agnew. Both his father and brother were employed as "Advertisers, general practice" in the 1920 census of Chicago, Illinois. Clark Agnew attended the Art Institute of Chicago, paying his way by playing the clarinet in Dixie-land and Chicago style bands. He married a woman named Gloria about 1929. She ways born in Hungary. They were living in Manhattan in 1930, where Clark was employed as an "artist, commercial". He produced advertising art for several prominent magazines. Agnew was later a television producer and wrote a book about television advertising in 1958. Using Google, I found the following link that has information about Agnew's life and some examples of his advertising art. Clark M. Agnew is listed in Who's Who in American Art, Who Was Who in American Art, and Davenport's Art Reference and Price Guide. I was immediately drawn to this painting because it reminds me of a place where I go hiking.
    Clark Mansfield Agnew died on 2 May 1959 in Norwalk, Connecticut. Gloria B. Agnew died on 6 August 1996 in Westport, Connecticut.





Agnew
              signature

Signature













Krueger
              painting

unnamed, Krueger, 10" x 11.75, oil, 1939

    This was $9.95 ebay find. The seller was in Des Plaines, Illinois, but I am not sure that this is an American artist. It could be a German immigrant or a souvenir of a trip to Germany. The signature is rather distinctive, though I don't expect to find out anything about this artist. I just like the style of the painting and the colors.



Krueger signature

Signature













 D.
              Duclair

unnamed, D. Duclair, 11" x 15", watercolor

    D. Duclair seems to have been a fairly prolific Haitian watercolor artist who was active in the 1950s and 1960s. At least that is how he has been characterized on various auction web sites and artprice.com. The value of his work varies wildly from auction to auction, sometimes selling for tens of dollars and other times for hundreds of dollars. I have not had a chance to take this painting apart to get a good picture of it, and there is a lot of glare in the photo above, notably around the figures in the foreground. I was able to use the Gimp to clean up the glare in the other parts of the photo. I'll get a decent image of it by and by. Any information on this artist would be appreciated.


Duclair signature












zosber

unnamed, unknown, 7" x 6", oil

    Another little ebay find. I like small paintings, because I don't have much free wall space. So small is among the first things I liked about this work. Then I liked the colors and motion in it. And lastly, I liked the $9.99 price, which is what I paid for it. The signature is close to readable, and is a good research opportunity. The name looks like "A. Zosber" or "A. Zesber". It could also be Zesbet or Zosbet. It came in an interesting frame that makes me think it is a 1950s, or early 1960s work. Just a guess. The seller was in Gouldsboro, PA, but this kind of feels like a California painting to me. Help!


zosbet signature


















Pipe Smoker

unnamed, unknown, 4" x 6", oil, 1950


    This was an ebay find. It is actually painted on a small, stretched canvas. I suspect it is a souvenir of a trip to Europe. For such a small painting, it is nicely detailed, and I think, very well done. The subject appears to be a hunter, judging by the shotgun over his shoulder. His dress probably gives away his nationality, but I do not know what that might be. The signature is quite distinctive and appears to be the initials "A L". It is in what appears to be its original, green painted frame. I was once a pipe smoker, so appreciate the beauty of his pipe. I don't expect to find out any more about this small painting. The seller was located in Burbank, CA.



Pipe smoker signature













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unnamed, Spragg, 12" x 16", oil on board

    No idea who this artist is, but I love this painting, and it is one of my favorites. I purchased it from a seller in Townsend, MA, who estimated the board it is painted on to be pre-WWII. It is a small painting in a really nice vintage frame, was cheap, and I am a sucker for bleak winter scenes, especially with a small pop of color like the red in the woman's shawl.



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 The dark frame really makes this painting pop.


    I researched a man named Spragg who I though might be the artist, but it was a false lead. What I did learn is the name Spragg is Norwegian and pronounced the same as the surname "Sprague". Any help in identifying this artist would be appreciated.





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"Snow on Onondaga Road", Peter Shostak, 17" x 29", acrylic, 1977

    This painting was sold to the folks I purchased it from as the work of well known Canadian artist Peter Shostak. I contacted the artist, however, and he confirmed that this is not his work. The painting is signed verso both "P. Shostak" and "Peter Shostak". The sellers took the painting back to the people they had purchased it from to ask for a refund, and they were apparently rudely turned down, even though I sent them the email from Mr. Shostak, claiming they had sold it as his work in good faith, believing it to be a painting by him. The question now becomes did the original sellers sign the work in an attempt to pass if off as the work of Canadian artist Peter Shostak, or were they also duped, or is this work by another artist also named Peter Shostak? I like the painting and the cost was very little, so I decided to keep it and use it as a research opportunity. The painting depicts the Syracuse Mony Towers, as they were then known (now the AXA Towers) as seen from Onondaga Road in winter.
    My initial research showed that there are up to nine men named Peter Shostak now living in the US. I also found the record of another Peter I. Shostak 1913-1989 who was born in New Hampshire, lived in New York state, and died in Orlando, Florida. His WWII enlistment record shows that he had four years of college and was working as an actor at the time of his enlistment. He was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants John G. and Annie Shostak. He married Anna Yaroush on 11 October 1964 in Stratford, CT. There were also several other men by the same name, who were too old to be the creator of this painting. I have not been able to find contact information for the nine living men, but will keep trying.



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Title verso

    The painting is titled verso. The second seller is from Baldwinsville, NY and the original sellers live nearby. I tried unsuccessfully to find an image of the Mony Towers from this perspective.


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Signature verso













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unnamed, Esther Meyer (Heyer?), 11" x 14", gouache



    I purchased this painting on ebay from a seller in California, which may indicate she was a California artist. The seller had a few paintings by this artist and on some the surname appeared to be Heyer as opposed to Meyer. I am not really certain which is correct. The paintings were all rather well done and in a distinctive style. Three women named Esther Heyer died in California between the late 1980s and late 1990s. She may have been one of these women. There was a prominent California artist named Esther Meyer (1897-2000), but she appears to have been a graphic artist working mostly with engravings and etchings. I have seem a couple of examples of paintings by her, and they did not greatly resemble this artist's work, though the subject matter was very different. This is a pleasant painting, though, and it appears to be the work of a practiced artist, so I hope to eventually discover more about her.




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unnamed, M. Considine, 10" x 8", oil on canvas

    I picked this up at a local pawn shop for $15, as I recall, mostly as a research opportunity. I was never able to find out anything about this artist, and it may be one of those sweatshop Mexican paintings. The age is about right, maybe 1980s. It is a genre painting and I have seen many done using a similar composition of two sailing ships in a harbor next to a pier. This one is maybe a bit better than most of those, I think. Very colorful an some nice detail in the crowd on the dock. It actually has pretty good depth and lighting, too, so not a total waste. Doubt I will ever know more about this one than I do now.


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unnamed, Bale, 3" x 5", watercolor

    I found this one at a local thrift shop and paid very little for it. For such a small painting, it is very complex and colorful. It was simply but nicely framed and matted, and I half expected I would find it was some kind of print when I removed the cardboard backing to replace it, I have this one hanging to the right of my kitchen sink, so get to look at it a lot and never get tired of it. I have not been able to find out anything about this artist, though the signature is very unique. I think this dates from the 1980s or 1990s.





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unnamed, Konstantinov, 10.7" x 8.5", oil

    I purchased this painting from a seller in Bulgaria. The seller estimated that it was painted in the 1920s. The signature is in Cyrillic and the seller speculated that the artist was Russian. There are a couple of listed Russian artists by this name who were active at this time. A search of Wikipedia for this surname showed that the surname of Konstantinov was also in use in Bulgaria. I don't expect to find out much about this one. I liked the bright colors and loose style of this painting, but also purchased it to check out this seller. He has a large inventory of interesting artwork, some at very reasonable prices. The painting was recently re-framed in a good frame and cost very little. Even though I have a pretty extensive collection, I have only a couple of floral still lifes, so this was a good opportunity to pick up an interesting one.













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"Seascape from Capetown, Africa. Tabletop Mountain", William J. Clemons, 16" x 24", oil

    I purchased this painting from an ebay seller in Alhambra, CA. This artist is identified as a Pasadena, California artist, William John Clemons, by Edan Hughes in his book on California artists. Mr. Hughes told me that this was the second work by Clemons that he had seen in 49 years. The other is in his possession. I am not convinced that Mr. Hughes is correct in his identification of this artist, though he may be. Regardless, I agree with Mr. Hughes that Clemons was a talented artist and share his curiosity about the fate of the rest of Clemons' works. The fact that only two of his paintings have been found, albeit both in or near Pasadena, and that his subject matter is so diverse is puzzling.
   
A search of census and other records revealed that William J.Clemons worked as a house painter in Pasadena from 1910 through 1944. He arrived in California between 1900 and 1910. His 1917 WWI draft registration gives his birth date as 10 August 1875, but not his birthplace. His description is given as medium height, medium build, dark hair, blue eyes, and deaf. He gave his next of kin as Mary Martha "Mamie" Barrus nee Clements of Athol, Massachusetts. She was living as a ward of Amos and Lucia Worrick in Athol in 1900, aged 18. She is the right age to be William's sister, but the birthplace of both parents is given as Massachusetts, while William consistently gave his father's birthplace as Massachusetts, and his mother's as Ireland or Irish Free State in census records in 1910-1930. He may be the William Clemons who was living as a lodger and employed as a house painter in the 1900 census of Colebrook, Coos County, New Hampshire. This man's birth date was given as March 1876, and his and his parent's birth places as Massachusetts. There is no sign of this man in later censuses, though, so the discrepancies in the census could be mistakes. No records that can be identified as belonging to this William Clemons before 1900 have been discovered.
    There is no record that indicates that he ever worked as a fine artist, though it is certainly possible that he did. I have found no record to indicate that he ever traveled outside of the United States, especially to South Africa, though this painting could have been painted from a photograph. In every census, but one, he was living as a lodger in a boarding house and did not seem at all prosperous, though he may have just been thrifty. He was living in a rescue mission in 1930. California voter registration records indicate that he voted Republican and retired from his work as a house painter between 1942 and 1944. He last appears in records in the California Death index.
    William John Clemons died in Los Angeles, CA on 4 October 1958.











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unnamed, A.Ford, 12" x 12", watercolor

    I found this watercolor at a local furniture consignment shop. Based on the frame, glass, and framing materials my guess is that this painting dates to the 1930s. There were no labels and the painting is laid down on a card. Despite the age, there does not seem to be any toning or darkening of the painting. This may be attributable to the fact that a piece of dark paper the same dimensions as the painting was laid down on the back of the card it was mounted on. I have never seen this done before. This paper seems to have protected the painting and the card it is mounted to from the backing material. I was able to break the card free from around the edges of the painting, but could not free the painting from the card. It is thoroughly laid down.
    The painting is signed A. Ford. My feeling until I took the painting apart was that it was likely English, especially since it has a French mat, but now I am not so sure. I have disassembled numerous English paintings of this age and the materials do not really feel like anything I have seen on an English painting. The glass is very thin and flexible. And the frame is thin and in the Arts and Crafts style. This may be American.
    The only listed American artist named Ford whose first named started with the letter "A" was Arva Naugle Ford 1890-1979, wife of Vincent Ford of Dallas Texas. She was married by 1920. She is listed in Davenports, Mallett's Index of Artists, Dawdy's Artists of the American West, and Dictionary of Texas Artists by Grauer. I have been able to find only one example of her work and no examples of her signature. The work I found was an oil, so did not give much to compare against. Arva was the daughter of Leonidas L. and Emma L. Naugle. Leonidas Naugle was a minister in Howe, Grayson County, Texas in 1910.
    I like this painting. It has a lot going on in it and together with the frame and French mat is nice period piece. I am still researching this painting and artist.





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unnamed, L. Kohn, 4" x 9", oil


    This is an ebay find. The seller claimed it was the work of Ludwig Kohn and that they had found two images of paintings with identical signatures in old auction catalogs. That may or may not be true, but I was fairly easily able to locate an example of a work by Ludwig Kohn on the Internet and the style and signature did not resemble the work of this artists. Ludwig Kohn seems to have signed with his full first name, not the initial "L". That being said I like this artist's work. I suspect he or she worked in Europe, possibly in France. I found another work by and L. Kohn that reminds me of this artist's style and the signatures are very similar, too.



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unnamed, L. Kohn, 8" x 10", oil


    After a brief search, I was able to locate works by at least three artists who signed "L. Kohn". The styles and signatures of these artists were very distinctive and different from one another. The two works and signatures shown here were the most similar and are quite possibly the work of the same artist. The painting above, which I call "The Gazebo" was sold at auction in the U.S. and was described as French in origin. It was exquisitely framed in an ornate gilt frame.
    My painting is also very well framed, though the frame was "Made in Japan". This looks like 1950s or 1960s frame to me.


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Label from my painting

    My painting may be a bit stained from cigarette smoke as evidenced by the brown in the sky. It is very well done and has a lot of depth for such a small work.



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Comparison of signatures














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unnamed, Linh, 21" x 27", oil

    This was an ebay find. The seller read the signature as Tinh, but it looks like Linh, to me. The seller claimed this was among many pieces of art that came from the "Violante estate". The Violantes were reportedly artists, art collectors, and patrons of the arts and other artists. There was an August J. Violante 1906-2001 who was a San Francisco commercial artist who is mentioned in Hughes' California Artists and Davenport's Art Reference and Price Guide. I like the bright colors, motion, and subject of this piece. No great hopes of finding out more about this artist, as both Tinh and Linh are common names.


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"Forest Glen",  P. Kirk, 23" x 27", watercolor

    I have not been able to discover anything about this artist. This painting was purchased on ebay from a seller in Ormond Beach, Florida in mid-2009.  It has what appears to be a gallery label verso that says "Kirkland Artists Group Gallery", and information about the painting. I have found no trace of this gallery or artists group.


Kirk verso

verso


    There is another painting on the reverse. The painting was cardboard backed and may date from the 1960s-1980s. Whoever filled out the label misspelled "glen". Not a horrible painting, but a disappointing research opportunity, so far. An artists group that left no trace and an artist with a very common name. Sigh.

Update: In October of 2010, I received the following email:

"hello I may have some info on the p kirk paintings I have 3 of them that my great aunt had. 1 oil on canvas from peggy kirk 1005 104th s.e. bellevue, Wa 98004 455-9466 painting is called california coast. also a small framed mix of seven watercolors ocean theme, signed on back to my great ant for being the best sunday school teacher with her signature peggy kirch 1984. also have one larger watercolor. hope this is a start if you would like to find more info."

    This would seem to resolve this mystery and create another. Who was/is Peggy Kirk? I found information about an artist of that name, in that area, who is apparently still active, but have not been able to contact her.




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Label, verso













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unnamed, unknown, 10.75" x 8", watercolor


    I am not sure what to make of this one. I purchased it out of curiosity on ebay from a seller in California who had taken great pains to archivally mat, clean, and re-back it in it's original, well-made frame. I bought it during my British 19th century watercolor collecting period and was somewhat embarrassed (internally) by it in comparison to those amazing works, but have come to appreciate it for what it is. Whatever that is. LOL. Judging by the frame and style of the work it has a 1950s feel to me. The artist obviously put a great deal of effort into the painting and it feels like it is based on a real place to me. It is signed with either a complex monogram or a highly stylized signature. If anyone recognizes this artist's mark I would appreciate being educated about it.




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Signature? Monogram?


    I have seen one other painting by the same artist, similarly signed. That one had an inscription verso that read "Oct 1967 Granada Spain". I was not able to get a very good image of the painting.


Oct 1967 Granada Spain


    The image provided was very small and partially cut off on one corner, so the image that resulted from my editing is slightly out of proportion. This appears to have been an accomplished and well traveled artist. My painting has a vaguely Spanish feel to it, too, but I had assumed it was a California scene, as the seller was located in California. Help!




mystery signature











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"Chertsey Lock & Weir", unknown, 5" x 7", watercolor and ink, 1888

    A large number of these small watercolors were offered by a seller the UK in 2007. They came from the portfolio of an unknown artist. The artist was quite chatty in his or her inscriptions on the back of these paintings, apparently wanting to commemorate each occasion. This one says "Chertsey Lock & Weir" (in pencil) "from the boat moore to Chertsey bridge.Tues  Sep 11th .88" (in ink). Some of these small paintings were very well done and some a bit awkward. Likely the work of some Victorian gentleman or lady of leisure, not a serious artist.


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"View on the Hey", unknown, 5" x 7", watercolor and ink 1888

    This one says on back in pencil "View on the Hey abt 4 mile up from Thames lock on the old river, through Bridge. St Gregory Hill in distance. Saty  Sep 15th/ 88.
    None of these small works were in any way signed. I don't expect to ever know any more about this artist than I do at the present.

   










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"Seascape No. 5", Jos. H. Sooy Jr., 16" x 20", pastel


    Joseph H. Sooy Jr. was active as an artist in the early 1960s, as indicated by inscription on the back of this painting. He appears to have been a serious artist who exhibited his work, but has left no trace in CyberSpace or in print. I have found no other mention of this artist or of his work. I purchased this pastel on ebay from a seller in California. She told me that the painting came from Sacramento, CA. There are records of several men named Joseph Sooy going back to pre-Revolutionary times in New Jersey through the 1930 census. This artist may be from that family. There were only two men named Joseph Sooy in the 1930 census, though. One, named Joseph H. Sooy, was born in 1910 and living with his parents in Ocean City, New Jersey, a good candidate to Jos. H. Sr. No Joseph H. Sooy is listed in the Social Security Death Index, so this artist may still be among the living.



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Label, verso

    What appears to be a gallery label is affixed to the backing of the painting with scotch tape. A fairly high number is assigned for the catalog number, so my guess would be that this label was from a gallery or some institution that was cataloging works shown over a specific period of time or in a very large show.



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Inscription on old backing


    Sooy had a very distinctive signature, so it should not be hard to identify more of his work if there is any out there. There appear to have been at least four more "Seascapes". Luckily, the old backing replete with all of the information it contained survived. Even so, this artist made my unknown artists page. Any information about Mr. Sooy would be appreciated.



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Signature on painting











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unnamed, unknown, 4"x 5", unknown

    No idea what this is. It may just be some Import/Export piece of junk, but it has become one of my favorite things. The material appears to be stone or organic, and has the feel of coral. I am certain it is not resin. It has lots of imperfections as may be seen in the image of the back. It is also very nicely framed. It appears that it was fashioned from a block of whatever material it is by first grinding a flat surface, polishing it, and then inscribing the image shown. I paid $2 or $3 for this at Goodwill, and that may be it's cash value, but I think it is fun. There is what may be a maker's mark in the lower right corner. Any information about this piece would be appreciated.


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Back of piece











Koppelmann painting

unnamed, ? Koppelmann, 8" x 10", oil

    This painting came from a now defunct wholesale art company, Personal Preference Inc., that claimed to sell about 250,000 pieces of quality art a year in the U.S. to institutions like hotels. This company operated from the late 1970s for thirty years. Their supplier, Just Better Art, is supposedly taking over their business but their web site is very much under construction. I dropped them an email in hopes that they may have information on this artist since the piece has a serial number, but received no response. It is a pleasant little oil painting, did not cost much, and is providing me a research opportunity. I like the colors, though it is a bit pink.




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Label verso


    Above is the label that is on the back of this painting. Though small, it is an oil on canvas. The frame is "Made in Mexico", common in the 1970s and maybe 1980s. The most prominent artists of this name, minus one of the trailing "n's" are Chaim and Dorothy Koppelman. This does not bear any resemblance to their work, though. No idea what the cryptic inscriptions in ink mean. An Internet search turned up nothing.


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Signature











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unnamed, Huskej Wojcicki (?), 10" x 8", oil

    Here is another painting from the inventory of Personal Preference Inc. I paid $5 or $10 for this at a used furniture store. I bought it as part of my research into this company, but like like the painting's colors and textures, too.


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    The label from the back of the painting has some pretty clear notations and I think may have the artist's name, though I am not certain. No idea what "Thorson 230" means, though. This one also has a frame that was made in Mexico, so probably from the 1970s or 1980s. Any help on these two is appreciated.


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unnamed, unknown, 20" x 24", oil on canvas

    I purchased this one on ebay for a small amount. The seller could not read the signature, but it looks like it may be a nice painting. The proportions may be a bit off, but the subject is pretty classic and has the added attraction of a small dog near the two men. The seller's image was very poor and he could not make out the signature and his image of it is no help. I have massaged it with the Gimp, but could not make it out either. I have not received this painting, yet, and hope it won't be a disappointment. I'll get better images when it arrives.



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unnamed, W. A. Still (?), 10" x 16", oil, 1961

    I have no information about this artist. This painting was purchased on ebay from a seller in Pipersville, PA. The seller read the signature as "W. H. Still". I read it as W. A. Still from the signature on the front of the painting. The seller's image was very blurry, but I took a chance and put a small bid on it and won the auction. It came framed in a surprisingly well made, and probably expensive, sculpted frame. It is painted on masonite, but had a heavy paperboard backing, close to what is now called "chip board". I have never seen an oil painting backed in this manner, but it gave the artist a place to put the inscription shown below.


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Notation, verso


    The artist wrote and signed, "The days grow shorter.      Soon each graceful swan will flex his pinions southward.......and be gone". I think the artist was proud of this painting. The artist did a pretty good job of showing a flock of swans taking off from a partially mist shrouded wetland marsh. I was a bit surprised at the quality of this painting as the seller did not comment on that or on the frame, both good selling points. The seller sold several other swam themed items at the same time as this painting was sold, probably from the estate of someone with a swan fetish. The signature verso looks much less like "Still" to me, and more like "Actill", but is probably stylized.  I bought this one on impulse for very little money as a research opportunity.



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    This painting is very dirty as can be seen by the part of the painting protected by the frame. In an attempt to bring out the detail and true colors of this painting, I photographed it in bright evening sunlight, with mixed results. I think a little more detail is visible, but the colors look a bit washed out.
    Any help in identifying this artist would be appreciated!




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unnamed, N. Thomas, 24" x 36", oil on canvas


    No idea who this artist is/was. I found this in a central Illinois thrift shop for $7.99. I really did not have room to hang it but it is such an attractive painting, I was worried at what it's fate would have been had I not purchased it. It had been on the floor of the shop for just a few minutes when I came in. This image really does not capture how colorful this painting is, and how vibrant the spots color are that are created by the nets hanging over the wall of the dock and sides of the ships. It also does not capture well the misty background that accompanies this cloudy day. Not great art, but very striking, anyway. It reminds me very much of the Pacific Northwest's Puget Sound. It appears to be at least 20 or 30 years old, so is not a member of the flood of Chinese paintings of this size that are so common nowadays. Not sure that is American either, though. It is a bit better than the run of the mill 1960s and 1970s European and Mexican sofa art pieces, I think, but could well be of that ilk. I am undecided if the yellow/brown in the center sky is supposed to be sunlight behind the clouds or is the result of having hung in a smoker's home for many years. It does not smell like smoke... Any information on this artist would be appreciated.



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  unnamed, Neufeld, 16" x 20", oil

    This painting and an abstract painting by the same artist were offered on ebay as works by well known artist Woldemar Neufeld. I was very skeptical that this was his work as it is nothing like the style of the work of Neufeld that I have seen, though the signature does bear a resemblance to the last name in some that I have seen. Neufeld's works, usually prints, sell for hundreds of dollars into the low thousands so it seemed very unlikely that I would be able to pay $22.50 for one on ebay. I bid on it because I liked the colors and style and it was cheap. It is painted on period Grumbacher canvas board marked "Plyex". The abstract painting was done on stretched canvas.
    After the auction, I contacted the seller (cherrynow), just to see why he thought this was the work of Woldemar Neufeld. He replied that the remains of Neufeld's estate had gone to a local dealer in New Jersey. This seemed possible, as Woldemar's widow, Peggy Woldemar, died in Oct 2008  in New Milford, CT and I purchased this painting in February of 2009. Her husband died in 2002. Woldemar Neufeld was born in 1909, was married, and photos I have seen of him generally agree with the appearance of the subject, though no pictures show him with a mustache or glasses. The subject is about the right age, race, complexion, and wearing a wedding ring. Some things about it bothered me, though. For instance, if the artist was painting himself in a mirror, his wedding ring would have appeared to be on his right hand, and it is on the left hand of the subject in this painting. I contacted the seller again via email and asked for the name of the dealer he had purchased it from and the date of purchase. He became very defensive and said he could not share that information because "it will reveal my source". LOL, now I smell the skunk. I sent him another email and asked why it would matter if I know his source? His response was two words, "flea market" and in the next email he said that the seller at the flea market got the remains of Neufeld's estate. Not a real surprise that this was an obvious lie, but this guy has over 600 feedbacks and one negative in the past year. Why lie? Probably because he was knowingly lying in his ebay description by claiming this to be the work of Woldemar Neufeld as opposed to someone named Neufeld, to try to make more money. Classic. It took be about 20 minutes of searching on Google to determine that Woldemar Neufeld had a son, and to find his telephone number. Turns out he had already seen this painting on ebay and confirmed that it was not his father's work. He was also the executor of his father and mother's estates and told me that nothing from them had left the family. So, the ebay seller turned out not only to be dishonest, but lazy and inept, too, or he would have found out how easy it would be for someone to find this information. Another tidbit of information from Mr. Neufeld's son for those interested in the work of Woldemar Neufeld that is worth mentioning, is that his father ALWAYS signed his first and last name, NEVER just his last name on his work.
    Still fun and colorful and cheap! I am including the signature from the abstract painting as another sample of this artist's signature. There is a chance that they were actually done by an artist named Neufeld and that they were not meant to deceive. Any information about this artist would be appreciated.



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unnamed, Neufeld, 16" x 20", oil


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unnamed, unknown, 22" x 28", oil

    I don't often buy unsigned paintings because it is usually very hard to find out anything about them and it thwarts my enjoyment in doing research. I am a sucker for winter paintings though, especially colorful ones, so here we are. This one was purchased by the previous owner at an estate sale in Hopewell, NJ in early 2009 and described as in the New Hope School style and guesstimated to be 1930s vintage. I tend to agree on the age, judging by the board it is painted on and the frame it is in. The board is canvas board that has a built in paper backing that is darkened and quite brittle. The scene could certainly be 1930s-1950s. It is a mixture of naive and fairly sophisticated painting, obviously done by a painter of some experience, though perhaps not formally trained. I don't have any hope that I will be able to find out more about it. Just planning to enjoy it on those hot, Midwestern July afternoons.













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unnamed, unknown, 10" x 14", oil

    I don't know anything about these paintings. I am pretty certain they were painted in Southeast Asia. I rode in similar three wheeled bicycle taxis in Thailand and Vietnam. I suspect they could also be found in Cambodia and Laos. I purchased them from a lady who had inherited them from a relative and knew nothing about them. The oil seems to be painted on cloth that is laid on top of some sort of mesh. It is by a different artist than the one who did the watercolors.

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unnamed, unknown, 10" x 11", watercolor


    This is a pretty classic scene from anywhere in Southeast Asia. I suppose it could also be the Philippines. These paintings are simple but very nicely done and colorful. I like that they depict scenes from everyday life. It reminds my of my time in Southeast Asia.


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unnamed, unknown, 11" x 10", watercolor

    Again, nothing to show where these were painted. I see a couple of different styles of hats that were common in the Southeast Asian countries where I lived. All three paintings are signed, but I cannot read the signature and have not been able to get a decent photo of the signature on the oil. Any help on this one would be appreciated. Hard to say how old they are. I would guess pre-1970s and maybe older.


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unnamed, A. N. Hordberg, 20" x 14", oil


    A. N. Hordberg (or N. A. Hordberg!) was an artist who painted marine scenes using oils in the mid 20th century. The Hordberg name is exceedingly rare in the US. have seen two other examples of this artist's work, a 2 foot by 3 foot painting of a ship, which sold at auction in Massachusetts for $690 in 2001 and an ocean scene that sold for $275 in California. The painting in my collection came from a dealer in Newark, Delaware. There was an Albert Hordberg working at a school in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1920, the only Hordberg appearing in any US census, aside from his wife and one child, though I have found references to a handful of other folks with that surname in more recent times, one, a Nancy Ann Hordberg who was referenced in the records of the US Senate in 1979. Yeah, I am grasping at straws on this one.

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A. N. Hordberg painting of a brig, 2' x 3', sold at auction in 2001

    The quality and complexity of this artist's work suggests they were a professional artist or very serious amateur. I do not have much hope of finding out more about this artist and welcome and help on this one! The artist has a very distinctive signature.


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A. N. "Hordbery", 23" x 27" including frame, oil, sold at auction in 2007


    I included the frame in the image of this painting to show how grandly this artist's work has been treated in the few examples that I have seen. The auction description of this work described it as "European" and I was inclined to agree until I saw that my painting had be done on an American manufactured canvas board. The artist signed all three of these paintings in the lower left corner.


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A. N. Hordberg signature from my painting














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unnamed, Tillett, 11.75" x 13", pastel

    This artist is not yet identified. The work is signed Tillett. It was framed by a shop in Providence, RI. I thought this was really well done. It also came professionally framed in a very nice wooden frame. There was an artist and gallery owner in St. Thomas named Jim Tillett who passed away around 2000 who may be the creator of this work.















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unnamed, C. V. Gallup, 8.5"x 12.5", watercolor

    The identity of C. V. Gallup is a mystery, so far. This watercolor seems to date from the first half of the 20th century, possibly the 1920s or 1930s, or earlier. It is a very pleasant little painting and reminds me of Monet's work a bit. It was purchased from a dealer in New Jersey and I suspect that the artist was from New England.
    There was a Clara Virginia Gallup in the 1900-1920 federal census records of New York City. She was born on 31 January of 1848. She married George Burr Floyd in 1868, but he was deceased in 1870 when she and her infant daughter, Julie Lilias, were living with her parents, Kenney and Clara Cole Couillard, in Westfield, New Jersey. Her father was a well to do merchant as early as 1860, probably dealing in liquor. Her father was deceased by 1870 when she was living her mother and siblings in Manhattan. The Couillards had servants in census records from 1860-1880. Clara's brother, Charles K. Couillard, worked as a stock broker for many years. According the to New York Social Register Clara married Charles Henry Van Eversdyk Gallup on 24 November 1891 in New York City. His occupation was listed as "Secretary" in the 1900 census. A history of his family notes that he was engaged in the crockery and railroad businesses in Boston before moving to New York where he was also engaged in business.
    Her second husband died between 1900 and 1910 and she seemed to live genteel widowhood afterward, living in hotels in 1910 and 1920 and apparently traveling to Europe in 1913 and 1923. That she is the artist is a complete guess on my part, though a near neighbor of her's in 1920 was employed as a commercial artist. Though Gallup is a more common name than one might think, this is the only candidate I found for C. V. Gallup between 1880 and 1930. 
    Any information on this artist would be appreciated.

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unnamed, C. S. J. Prince, 6.75" x 9.5", watercolor, '55 (1955)

    Here is a nice mystery. I like the muted colors and quaintness of the scene. I was not sure where the scene in this painting was located, I guessed India or Southeast Asia. I was contacted by the owner of another painting by this artist and he sent me an image that seems to be of an Indian market scene, so I guess I'll go with India on this one. The other painting was not dated, or rather it appears that the date was partly trimmed off, but the signature was much more clear than the signature on my painting which is obscured by the darkness of the surrounding watercolors. I think I can make out enough of the date to guess that it was painted in the 1940s. This artist is not mentioned in any art reference book that I have searched. I suspect that this is artist was a talented amateur who possibly lived in India in the 1940s and 1950s. Any information on this artist very welcome.

    An update on this artist: I was contacted by a lady from the UK who has a much more clearly signed painting, which also includes the following notation verso:

CSJ Prince (signature)
c/o Rev. Z. S. Jeeraneson
United Theological College
17 Millers Road
Bangalore. I

    So, it appears that this artist did spend time in India. The scene in the painting bearing this inscription is also an Indian village scene, though in a somewhat looser style than the other two paintings. I did a Google search on the name Jeeraneson and came up completely empty, though the owner of this painting is positive that, that is the name. It is possible that the artist was somehow affiliated with this college, or perhaps just a personal friend of Mr. Jeeraneson.




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Cernay-la-ville, L. B. Mathews, 10" x 12", August 1891

    The Maine art dealer that I bought this painting from was selling it as a French painting, but I think it is probably by an English artist of a scene in France. The seller also interpreted the signature as Y. B. Mathews, but I think it may actually be L. B. Mathews and possibly by Mrs. Lydia B. Mathews who was active about this time. This church is much painted and photographed but typically not from this odd angle which is why I like it. The frame and glass also appear to be original and are very nice, too. The painting is thoroughly glued to a card so we will never know if there are any clues on the back of the painting. Until I can find some justification for putting it in the "British Artists" section, I will leave it here. Opinions on the signature and origins are welcome!


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unnamed, Leo(?) Gaind(?), 12.75" x 9.75", watercolor

    I have not been able to identify the artist of this whimsical Peruvian scene, yet. At least my guess is Peru. I wonder if similar scenes might not be found in other parts of what once was the Inca empire in Ecuador and Bolivia? I did find a few images of similarly dressed women in street scenes of Cuzco, Peru using Google Images. There were also similarly constructed balconies in some of these images. The buildings in this painting certainly give the impression that they are built on the ruins of Inca foundations. I am including and image of the signature below. Probably for the tourist trade. I like the whimsy, color, and artist's use of shadow and blowing snow in this painting. Nicely done scene of a cold, breezy winter morning in the narrow city streets of a South American city. I'd appreciate an help in identifying this artist.


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unnamed, T. Piasetzky, 10" x 13", watercolor/gouache

    I have been able to find out nothing about T. Piasetzky. This painting came from a shop in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. It looks like it is maybe from the 1930s or 1940s. I bought it because I like a challenge and it is a winter picture, but this one has me stumped. While maybe not great art, it seems obvious that this artist was talented and also had probably been painting for some time when this painting was done. I am guessing that this artist may have been a logger or someone connected with that trade who filled their down time with painting. This seems to be a fairly classic scene. I have found other, similar paintings by different artists, down to the different colored horses. Any information on T. Piasetzky would be most appreciated.











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unnamed, F. d(under frame), 3.5" x 3.5", watercolor

    I found this little gem at a junk shop a few blocks from my home. This store had a real mix of treasure and trash. I think it was operated by some organization composed primarily of WWII aged folks, as the volunteers there were that age and many of the items date from that period as well. I found several pieces of nice factory art glass there dating from the '40s - 60's, just the kind of stuff that would have been in the better stores during that time and then sold as the owner's estates were liquidated. I suspect this small painting may have been brought back from Amsterdam by a WWII soldier. The shop is gone now, so too late to find out for sure. I'd have to call this one of the treasures that the store carried. It is signed, but the signature is mostly under the frame and it is so beautifully framed and backed that I don't want to take this one apart. I call this one "Amsterdam Girl" as the label on the back has the name and address of a store named Kunsthandel Koch located in that city. This gorgeous little painting is so small that I could not get decent images of it with my camera. The colors are brighter and the image crisper than I was able to capture. I was contacted in 2009 by a gentleman living in Europe who had seen this painting in Europe in the 1930s, but could not remember where. He was even able to describe the frame that it is in. We corresponded for a time, while he was trying to remember where he had seen it, and then I heard no more from him. A small mystery.


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"The Yellow Sail", Rachel Grainger-Hunt, 9.5" x 12" , oil on board

    Rachel Grainger-Hunt was supposedly a mid to late 20th century painter in oils who painted in several different styles from realism to abstract. Originally I was told by the seller of these paintings that her personal effects consisting of several chests were purchased by an art dealer from an estate liquidator in Cork, Ireland though she may or may not have been Irish. The estate liquidator did not attempt to preserve or discover any information about Ms. Grainger-Hunt. Included in her effects were personal items besides her paintings which indicated that she had lived for some time in South America. The titles of some of her paintings also indicated that she spent time in various parts of Europe. Included in her artwork were a dozen or so large canvases that were signed with her full name, last name hyphenated. She signed most of her work with her initials "RGH". There is some inference that she may have been married to an artist named Terry or Gerry Hunt, though this is not certain and there is no information available about Mr. Hunt.



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"Church and Hayfield, Sussex", 11" x 15", oil on board


    Later the seller of these paintings said he had discovered that Ms. Grainger-Hunt was still living and painting. The seller started offering new paintings by her and hyping her work as a hot commodity, though the paintings generally sell for small amounts. The seller now refuses to give any more information about Ms. Grainger-Hunt's background or whereabouts. This may be a scam but many of the paintings are attractive and cheap so no great loss if this is a scam, though buyer beware!

   

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"After Church, Hull", 10" x 12.5", oil on board     


    As some of these paintings are very well done, it has also occurred to me that they may be the experimental or practice works of a well known or professional artist who does not want to sign their real name to them. A mystery.














M. Matsu

unnamed, M. Matsu, 9.5" x 13", watercolor



    M. Matsu was a pre-WWII Japanese artist. His work is of very high quality and he seems to have been prolific. Unfortunately, very little information is available about Japanese artists from this period, and M. Matsu is no exception. These paintings are signed in block English characters. They are much more detailed than my camera was able to capture. For instance, the straps on the pack of the figure in the bottom painting are clearly visible going  over his shoulders.





M.
                    Matsu

unnamed, M. Matsu, 9.5" x 13", watercolor


    The first image is of the Itsukushima Shrine at Miyajima. These are very nice. Here is a good site to find out more about Japanese watercolors and woodblock prints.





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unnamed, S. Nimi, 9.5" x 13.25", watercolor

  

   S. Nimi was another pre-WWII Japanese artist and he is as mysterious as Mr. Matsu. I actually found this one in a little antique mall about 6 or 8 blocks from my house for $10. The label and mounting tape are from an art shop that has probably not existed for 50 or 60 years. Note that the name and address of the art store are different on the label that was on the back of the painting and on the tape that was used to mount the painting to the mat. Springfield is about 60 miles from the town where I live. I suspect that this painting has an interesting history. It appears to have been matted at least twice, and perhaps three times judging by the mat burns. The frame may be original as it is bamboo and very old, though still sound. I matted it to show the history of the painting, though I guess someone in the future may decide to hide it. Either way it is nice painting. Not bad for ten bucks.



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"Place du Tertre, Paris" , Séguié, 9" x 11.5", watercolor


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unnamed, Séguié, 9" x 11.5", watercolor


    These little French watercolors are a mystery but I like them very much. I read the artist's name as Signie but have been informed by kind reviewer of my web site that it is more likely Séguié. Armed with this new information I have now found half a dozen other examples of this artist's work, all Paris scenes. Also courtesy of my kindly reviewer the first image has been identified as  Place du Tertre, Paris and the second as perhaps a street leading up to this place. These paintings are rich in detail, but in a very loose way that I find restful. The muted colors enhance that feeling for me. I also like the 1930s feel to them, though my guess is that they were painted later, maybe in the 1950s which was also an estimate by a seller of another of Séguié's works. The frames that they came in certainly scream 1950s, though who knows if they are original to the paintings? Possibly these were done for the post-WWII tourist trade as I have found examples in the UK, USA, and Canada. At any rate, these are some of my favorite 20th century paintings from my collection. I would love to find out something about the artist. This artist is not listed anywhere. I did find a blog reference to the artist from another searcher like myself using Google, but they were as lost as I am on this one. That posting was to a UK blog. Please drop me a line if you know who this artist is.



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unnamed, G. Deschamps, 5" x 5", oil on board

    This was one of a pair of small paintings offered on ebay. I guessed that the signature was "T. Deschamps". The paintings were in similar frames. I was contacted by someone who is familiar with the place pictured in my painting and they told me it was the Tour Solidor in Saint-Servan, a suburb of Saint-Malo, Brittany, France.



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Signature from my painting


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My painting, framed




  Deschamps pair, No. 2

Mate to my painting


    Luckily, I was able to find two other paintings that lead me to believe that this is the work of G. Deschamps, a French painter. Both of the other paintings are very similar in style and subject to the two paintings above. The first of these paintings bears a signature that is very similar to the one on my painting and its mate. Luckily, this painting has a label with the artist's name and address, and title of the painting.


Gabriel Deschamps
                        painting #3    Deschamps #3 framed    Deschamps#3 label

Deschamps painting three, framed and label

    This painting appears to be very similar in style, and the frame also has similarities to the first two paintings. The signature on the label, verso, appears to be G. Deschamps, and address "1 Place Porte de Chatillon, Paris". The signature on the front of the painting also appears to be very similar to the signatures on the first two paintings. Note the title, St Servan y Mer, Tour Solidor, the same location as my painting.


Deschamps #4    Deschamps #4 label    Deschamps
                      #4 signature

G. Deschamps painting #4 framed painting, label and signature


    Painting number four is similar in style and subject matter to the first three paintings, had a label with the same name and address as painting number three, but a signature that is very different from all of the others. It may be that the artist's signature changed, or that related artists were working from the same address, working in the same style. Painting four is clearly signed "G. Deschamps". The address is a big clue to the identity of this artist, but unfortunately I do not have the resources to determine which artist named Deschamps lived there.


















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unnamed, Brauer, 13.5" x10.5", gouache, dated 1935


    Brauer was supposedly a German artist who was active 1920-1940, a friend and peer of fellow artist Willibald Hamburger. Hamburger painted in the German symbolit style. So far, I have been unable to find out much about either man.








    Here are some artists whose work I really like but have not yet added to my collection:

    Michael McKee      Michael does beautiful work with pastels.

        

Some Helpful Links
  • On line appraisal service from John Sewell well known Canadian expert on fine art and antiques. This is a very reasonably priced on line service from a well respected expert. Fill out an on line form and send images of your art objects. No need to send your art objects through the mails. I am a satisfied customer! Highly recommended!
  • Here is a list of common British art society abbreviations.
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