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One of the most iconic images of WPA era/style steel mills in Pittsburgh PA is a gorgeous painting titled “Blowing Steel,” by George Pearse Ennis. I am happy today to offer a red chalk sketch that I believe to be by the same man, of the same subject matter. Model appears to be a steel worker peering over a railing after his shift. He stands dressed in denim coveralls, his work shirt open at the chest and his jacket draped over his arm. His head is bald and his arms are remarkably well defined. The pose is thoughtful and referential of course in the sanguine style of earlier artists. Mr Ennis studied under William Merritt Chase early in his career, was later involved in the WPA movement as an organizer, served as President of the American Watercolor Society and Director of the Eastport Maine summer school for art. He worked with John Singer Sargent at the Grand Central Art School and had a two-man show at the Brooklyn Museum in 1935. Chalk measures 8″x17″ and is signed “Ennis” clearly at bottom right. I have matched it to other signatures of his and believe them to be one in the same. Please take my research as an attribution, and discuss with me as you wish. Framed beautifully in french lined mat and gold Old Master style frame, likely in the 1950s. On the reverse there is taped to the back a printed cut out (likely from an auction catalog of the same ’50s era) “Ennis Drawing, portrait of a man. Framed. Est $20-30.” Please see photos and draw your own conclusions; I have to call it an attribution because of the lack of his first name on the work.
Signed Ray Fuchs, a Pittsburgh artist with a mention in the Carnegie museum archives, this watercolor is just plain full of life. Four piece African American jazz quartet / ensemble: drummer, trumpet player, saxophonist and a pianist banging out (legible sheet music) “Is you Is”. I did some quick research to see if this helped in dating the piece and honestly, not really. Before Louis Jordan made it famous in 1944, it had been played for roughly 20 years by smaller bands. I would have dated the piece to ’30s without this context clue, I think thats probably about spot on. Heavy gauge watercolor paper, mahoghany concave frame and a J.J. Gillespie framers label (a well respected framer and gallery in the first half of 20thc in Pittsburgh) all seems to arrive at the same conclusion. Sight size measures 15 1/2″ x 22″, matted and framed 27″x34″. It looks like the mat has been swapped out for something newer (hopefully acid free) sometime recently. Please see photos and email with questions. Buyer pays actual UPS shipping, wrapped in foam and with custom built cardboard box to fit. Thanks much for looking.
Oh my. Even dealing in historical obscurities, these cards stun me. Each measures 2″ x 3 1/2″ and appear to be so irregular as to be hand-cut. There are 31 in total. Each has a seemingly woodblocked (wood-engraved crudely at best) color print of a noun as represented by a person or a thing. Example a woman with her hand to her chest on a cliff translates as “emotion.” They are all obtuse or tragic. Some other examples translate to “misfortune or tragedy” (a house on fire,) “virgin” (a prim looking Victorian woman), and “lover or sexual partner” (a not so prim looking woman. Some others are widow, widower, wealth, lucky, thief, death, disease; just really odd things to be teaching in a second language. Its a jaded flash card set. Incredible. Please see photos and email with questions, show toning and extensive wear. I cannot find a thing like them online, close to unique by this point.
Incredible, the “most beautiful woman ever tried for murder – ‘I Shot in Self Defense’ pitch card for the 26 year old murderess said to have looked like Greta Garbo on the stand. This card is from just the year after the crime, remarkable. Measures 3″ x 5” with some light creasing, blank back.
Time republished the 1932 article online, here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,744343,00.html
I love this horse! Great form, like a nineteenth century toy but a little later. I have him dated between c1900 and c1920. Measures approx 39″ long and 20″ high, and is made of wood with some sort of composite over it to emulate skin – not sure, maybe just a textured paint. Felt and a rubberized plastic seat. Please see photos and email with questions, I’m unsure if he always had the mounts or if he was an earlier horse with later additions. Nice condition, just a little chipping to his hooves and some tape on his front legs. Really nice piece with great form.
I’m guessing on the date here, it could easily go ten years in either direction. Measures 12″ x 18″, deep inset printing on varnished plywood. Reads “Morton E. Converse & Son Co. Winchendon Mass.” Markings are gorgeous – strong with no loss. Some light markings which may or may not be original to the board. Directions on the reverse read beautifully, “place the board upon the lap of two persons, lady and gentleman preferred….” It goes on to caution that if you take this action lightly, it will go poorly for the user and claims that with “reasonable patience and judgment it will more than satify your greatest expectation.” A beautiful – iconic board, by a rare maker. SOLD.