Thursday, December 02, 2004

Can You Help Me Identify This Picture?


Anyone out there have any idea when or where this print originated, or who the artist was? I'd guess the 1920s or 1930s; the artist's name as it appears in the print looks like "Cope." The print is on textured paper and it looks about the same consistency as Christmas wrapping paper or a paper placemat. It measures about 18"x10". The frame is badly worn and beat, though the print itself is in good condition.

(You can also see a larger version of the picture here.)

There's a story behind this print. I first encountered a print just like it in the fall of 1981. I was in seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. Some of us were over at the loft apartment of a fellow seminarian. He had all sorts of wonderful art objects in his apartment, including a copy of this print hanging on the wall. (Yes, in case you hadn't guessed, he was an Episcopalian. ;-)

I saw that print of his that once and that once only, but it stuck in my mind. It was one of the inspirations for my strange short story "Yellowstripes," which I was mentioning yesterday.

As the years went by, I could still picture that print in my head. I assumed I'd never see the likes of it again.

Until about ten years ago, when I was serving as an interim pastor in north central Illinois. One day I walked into an antique shop, and what should I sight but... another copy of that very same print!

It wasn't cheap, but I didn't hesitate for an instant. I snatched it up, and it's hung on my wall ever since. Though I'm still clueless as to its provenance.

Friends, friends, speak to me... any ideas about this print, who or what or when or where?

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6 Comments:

Blogger Dean Esmay said...

It might help to see a bigger version of the image.

Monday, December 06, 2004 9:23:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Dean, good idea. A larger version of the picture is now available here.

Monday, December 06, 2004 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never seen it before, but the guy on the ground is Pierrot, and the two walking are Pierrette and Harlequin. If that helps at all...

Tanya

Monday, December 06, 2004 4:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now the curiosity will drive me crazy. Could you post a closeup of the signature? --Tanya

Tuesday, December 07, 2004 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Tanya, here's a close-up of the artist's signature. It looks to me like "Cope," though I'm not entirely sure. I've googled on several artists named Cope, none of them has a style that resembles this print.

And thanks for identifying Pierrot and Pierrette and Harlequin! That's already more than I knew about this picture before.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004 3:33:00 PM  
Blogger morpholog said...

Looks a lot like Erte. The signature does not, but the style looks like his. It is probably a contemporary of his.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004 6:18:00 PM  

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