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.
"Sidewalk", unknown, 6" x
4", Artists Proof, linocut on paper
I can say about this one. I found this at a Habitat for
Humanity thrift store in Bloomington, IL in April 2018.
I paid $.25 for it. I am pretty sure that I have seen
another one like this floating around, unless this is
the same one and it migrated to this thrift shop. It is
signed and titled and marked as an artist proof verso. I
can't make out the signature, though... "G. A....."?
Closeup of signature
unnamed, Laura Lewis, 8" x 10", oil on canvas
Still trying to
identify this artist. It is very clearly and
distinctively signed, but I have found several artists
by this name. A couple of folks have pointed to this Laura
Lewis' web site, but I contacted her and she
says it is not her work. Her signature IS similar to
this artist's signature, though. Any help appreciated.
Laura Lewis signature
unnamed, unknown, 20" x 28", oil on board
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:
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 the 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
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
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.
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.
unnamed, Paoli, 12" x 10", oil on board
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.
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'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.
unnamed, Roberts, 12" x 4" x 3", ceramic
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
Views of vase
unnamed, N. Bell, 14" x 8", pen and ink drawing
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
N. Bell signature
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 on back of
drawing and framed work.
unnamed, George Meldrum, 24" x 20", oil on
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
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, George Meldrum, 24" x 18", oil on
George Meldrum monogram
George Meldrum signature
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.
"Marine life #13", W. Gertrude Walker, 5" x 5",
oil on card
painting is unsigned but bears a label verso, that has
the artist's name "W. G. Walker" and her address, 9213
Alden Drive, 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. Clinton S. Walker
amd wife "Dent", were living at 1002 1/2 Larrabee St.
in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles in the 1940 census. The
census shows that he had resided in California since
1935, was a high school graduate and his wife had
attended two years of college. His occupation was
reported as "Tailor". Gertrude W. Walker was not with
her parents, but may be the woman who appears in the
1940 census of Coshocton, OH, where she was employed
as a "painter, art factory". Miss Gertrude Walker was
living with her parents in 1946 and 1948 at 1002 1/2
Larrabee St. She was not with them in earlier city
directories. Mrs. Gertrude Walker died in Los Angeles
in 1948 and Clinton died there in 1951.
Our artist is possibly the W. Gertrude Walker who, in 1955, was living at h332c North Palm Dr., Beverly Hills, CA. Her occupation was "writer". A copyright was recorded on 30 June 1931 for Winifred Gertrude Walker, AKA W. G. Walker, for a play in three interludes called "Immortality". Her address was given as 4770 Franklin Ave., Hollywood, CA. Dramas and Works Prepared for Oral Delivery, 1947, credits Winifred Gertrude Walker with writing a satire titled "The Clown". The entry also gives her name as "W. Gertrude Walker". Winifred Gertrude Walker next appears in records in the 1960 Beverly Hills city directory, living at 9213 Alden Drive, the same address that is on the label on the back of my painting. In 1964, 1973 and 1975 she was living at the same address in Beverly Hills, CA. The 1972 city directory reported her occupation was "writer" also at the same address. By 1991 she was living at 1745 N Gramercy Pl Apt 616 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 a writer or artist has been found. Two works by her are known to exist, 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, 5" x 7", oil on card,
W. Gertrude Walker died on 15 December 1994 in Palm
Desert, Riverside, CA.
unnamed, unknown artist, 8" x 10", oil on masonite
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, O. B. Dye, 10" x 8", oil on board
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.
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.
"unnamed" by W. Bartsch, 15" x 18", oil on canvas
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.
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.
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.
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 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,
and in identical frames. 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".
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.