Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mystery Solved!!

Mystery  Solved!!

The picture on the left is of my daughter, Carolyn on her 7th birthday in 2002.

A few days before her 17th birthday, we went to the Bouckville Antiques Fest.  Wandering aimlessly, we were quite shocked to find a picture of her!  We bought it of course.  There was no signature and  nothing on the back to identify it so we nicknamed it “Creepy Carolyn” and hung it on our wall.  And the search was on.

I usually don’t have any problems finding information on artists, artwork and provinance.  It comes from a time when I worked for a serious collector.  He always wanted to know exactly what his pieces were and how much they were worth.  I’m pretty good at it if I do say so myself.  But this had me stymied.

The clues: 
It’s nailed into a gilded wooden frame.  Nailing was the only way to affix art to a frame up until the 1960’s when those huge staples became popular for their convenience.  A carved gilded frame would be appropriate for an object of some importance to the  original owner.  The design of the carving looks early 20th century.

It’s the print-probably photographic-of a painting.  The style of the painting reminded me of 1920’s American work, her hairstyle definitely confirms the era.  This print was pasted onto thick card,  a treatment which was popular in post-WW1 and pre-WW2 photography. 

She has a stylized halo which probably makes her some sort of holy person.  Blue in religious art connotes purity and high esteem.  I thought perhaps the image of a saint?

Browsing art books, sites and questions on chat boards netted me nothing.

Then yesterday, I stood outside a thrift shop talking to a friend, when over her shoulder I saw this image. 

Same halo, same style, and almost the same frame…..but signed!!  Not only that but with a label on the back.

From there it was just too easy. 

“Creepy Carolyn” is actually “ Mary Most Holy” by  American Artist C. Bosseron Chamber (1882 - 1964)

Now to find out who the sitter was :)