Recently looked at a sheet that was unidentified. It's early and nicely drawn. We wanted to try and identify the author, if possible.
There's a date; May 20th 1930 written in pencil and erased under the eagle wings of the crossed equator design. Which caused us to look further. Scotty in the Lift Trucks Lab found another erased set of letters at the bottom of the sheet. Looked like "...rry V Law...n. He then looked at it a different way by flipping colors on the computer to a negative. Almost like a blueprint. You can see it clearly in person, not so much in the photo (apologies.) But you get the idea. All falls into place and says in all caps; HARRY V LAWSON.
Not a bad way to check for signatures on a sheet. Flipping some colors will work better than others. Old computers sometimes have a color matrix rotation system button. On newer models, try Photoshop or iPhoto and swap out one color for another.
One tell was the unique style of feathered shadows under the feet of the women. A black line with fade cast. This is on other Lawson's in a book. Shows up here on the ukulele girl and pirate lass giving stylistic evidence, along with the block letter signature, that sheet is most likely by Harry V. Lawson.
Maybe another reason to dig back into into the slag heap of unidentified tattoo flash sheets.
Click image to see enlarged. block letters: HARRY V LAWSON
Irene Woodward, also known as La Belle Irene, was a tattooed lady who performed during the 1880s. She made her New York debut just weeks after Nora Hildebrandt to great fanfare, including a report in the New York Times. She worked at Bunnell's museum and successfully toured Europe. Onstage, she claimed to have been tattooed by her father, and, in a break from the usual tales of forcible tattooing, claimed she actually wanted the work done. Woodward was actually tattooed by Samuel O'Reilly and his then-apprentice Charles Wagner. At times, she claimed to have been inspired by having seen Constantine. In 1883, she married a showbiz man named George E Sterling with whom she had a son, also named George, and spent 15 years in the circus.
She died in December of 1915 at the age of 53 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Info courtesy of MBEzine.
Here's a sketchbook page from the sketchbook of Samuel F. O'Reily, Irene Woodward was illustrated by him.
Tattooist: How about a butterfly on your hip?
Teenage Girl: Its like you read my mind!
Will be stopping by Ed's. Location rocks, stumble on over with me, matey. Must be lovely, rear of Finn's bar. Although not a confidence builder having the word "tatoo" misspelled on his shingle. All doubts were quickly dispensed seeing the classy English spelling of the word Parlour. Wonder what city this was in? Must have been back east somewhere. I don't exactly remember. Heh, heh. You going to finish that Rob Roy?
Here's a sheet of tattoo flash that surfaced at an obscure auction. Story was that it originally came through a swap meet in Northern California, not sure what one but maybe the now defunct Marin City. Which was a very cool place where lots of hippies would set up selling stuff from wealthy guys like the Jefferson Airplane musicians. Phil Ochs widow was there a lot. Kind of sad actually but she had nice things for sale and was a nice person. A well heeled town with good items not just sand candles and yarn dream catchers but expensive bikes, early electronic gear and mint Bill Graham Fillmore posters.
Anyway the auctioneer said the guy who owned the sheet of flash remembered that he got it from Albert Morse. Mr. Morse was a famous comic book artists' lawyer (don't mention his name to comic book guys, as they will spit and fume.) Unhappy dealings! They cry.
Albert Morse traveled the country and documented many tattooists. A hero in this world as he preserved history, wrote The Tattooists and had a great tattoo art show at the Oakland Museum of Art 25 years ago. Brought tattoo panels out of back rooms onto museum walls and the public eye.
We originally thought this piece might be Owen Jensen's as the girl and peacock is something he drew occasionally. But the fine line drawing just isn't his. It kind of looks Californian even though it says Aloha Hawaii. Beautifully done, but one more for the Anonymous pile.
Some interesting old sailor Tat meanings....read at very bottom..= the Crosses tattooed on soles of feet to ward off sharks if a ship had fell out from beneath you...
So, the real question is: Does The Scream still shock? John Canaday, the famous New York Times art critic, said (to paraphrase) of the Mona Lisa; We can't see it anymore. We see the icon, fame and the money it's worth. Paintings can become items of value. They lose the expression of the times, the artist or whatever.... There it is, The Famous Painting. He may have had a point. The Scream has turned the corner becoming a historical icon like the Mona Lisa, The Sistine Chapel and Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.
At the Neue Galerie you follow the line governed by a guard slowly letting us into the dark, closet sized, burgundy painted room with the icon. We look at other yelling angst ridden portraits along the way.
Some of the other pieces in the show stand out more. Like the Nolde portraits and the wonderful pink street painting by Kirchner. But they all went to school on Munch's achievements. They could not have done their expressionistic paintings if he had not gone first. Probably the first guy to really explore inner horror. As opposed to event caused horror like Goya's war scenes.
Munch's work kind of looks creepy and hospital room like. He apparently had a girlfriend who told him she was dying or something. He rowed a boat in the middle of the night to go see her on some God forsaken island. Go ahead look the story up on Google. So anyway she is not sick, laughs loudly and says "Just kidding." He is so streamed that he rows home under a black sky and pretty much swears off dating for the rest of his life.
See the show. It's a wonderful gallery and we are all lucky to have it here.
Munch and Expressionism at the Neue Galerie, NYC until June 13.