Quote and Credit

Quote and Credit


Why would the Outsider Artist Justin McCarthy sign a painting as by Rubens ?

A cruise ship lounger on deck with a bright red sunburned face. But why would Justin McCarthy sign a painting as by "Rubens" Justin McCarthy suffered what has been called "a major nervous breakdown" from 1917 to 1921 or so, some years of which he was in an institutional setting.This occurred shortly after his well-to-do family left him (as a young man) to wander the Louvre. The story of how he painted himself back to reality has been often told. But the signature? During his recovery McCarthy signed numerous names to his work, but Art scholar Nancy Green Karlins Thoman deserves the credit for revealing some of McCarthy's hand written notes from the time period in her dissertation “Justin McCarthy (1891-1977) The Making of a 20-century Self-Taught Painter.” In a sketchbook from 1919 - 1920 he jotted down his impressions of the great artists noting their characteristics as he remembered them. Among them Van Dyke (sic) Rembrant (sic) and Whistler. And for Rubens? McCarthy wrote “Rubens - red agent, ruby red.” He certainly couldn’t have been intending to copy Rubens with a woman on the deck of a steamer but in his somewhat troubled mind it made sense. To the artist, it was the color red. Years later his friend and patron Sterling Strauser had McCarthy go back and sign many works. Hence, his own signature appears as well! Justin McCarthy Untitled (Woman on a Ship) circa 1920 - 1930? Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Folk Art Paper Shadow Puppet Figures late 19th - early 20th century. Collection Jim Linderman

Shadow puppets and shadow play is an early art form with many relatives. Paper cuts. shilouette cuts, even the more common hand shadow which is known as ombromanie. Often associated with Asian cultures,there are plenty of Western examples. In an earlier post on the blog I discussed hand puppetry and much of what was said relates to those fellows. “…the early practitioner who would travel from gig to gig (or birthday party to school assembly) often had a patter to go along with the work...moral tales, jokes, and frequently an agenda of either the person paying for the show or the artist. But it wasn't necessary. The mere, temporary existence of the work was enough. Like the chalk talkers I love so much, the art form was often, and is today when you can see it, frequently hijacked by the religious prothelesizer. Get thee before a light! I don't think they do any "in and out" shadows with a circle and a thrusting digit, but that is probably the most popular example today, and usually made in a dorm room or, if you can find a spot, a well-lit corner of the local tavern.” These are early examples found as a group, cut by an expert and lovingly preserved. The notables include Shakespeare, Christ and “a monk” of unknown name. Six late 19th, early 20th century hand cut shadow puppets of paper. Collection Jim Linderman

Love During Wartime wood carving

A folk art miniature carving entirely from one piece of wood, even the tree. Dated 1945, and likely a gift to honor a soldier home, or to encourage the start of a family tree! A mere 3 inches tall, with original paint. Folk Art Carving of a Couple 1945 Collection Jim Linderman

Antique Ivory Soap Carving of Christ c.1930 Folk Art Sculpture

The Ivory soap company formed the National Soap Sculpture Committee in the 1920s. Based on the soap patina, I think this piece dates to that era! Here’s a bit from the Procter and Gamble brochure of 1936: “For young and old, for amateur and professional artists, soap sculpture offers a new and satisfying medium for artistic expression. Thoroughly democratic in spirit, and well within reach of all, carving in soap has become firmly established in America.” They also published a 31 page book on “The Development and Use of Soap Sculpture” selling for a dime. This fellow is 3 inches wide and 4 inches tall, and is certainly a prize-winner in my eyes. Antique Soap Carving of Christ, circa 1930. Collection Jim Linderman / Dull Tool Dim Bulb.

Folk Art Ventriloquist Figure of Pinocchio circa 1940 - 1950

Folk Art Ventriloquist Figure of Pinocchio circa 1940 - 1950. Collection Jim Linderman / Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Railroad Hobo Warning Sign Original Paint Folk Art

Railroad Hobo Warning Sign Original Paint Folk Art. Pennsylvania origin, date unknown. Collection Jim Linderman / Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Antique Folk Art Puppet of a Bear.

Perfect Puppet Head of a Bear. This one is all about the surface. Antique puppet head circa 1900. Collection Jim Linderman / Dull Tool Dim Bulb the blog.

Homemade Kitty Cat Birthday Card Make-do

Homemade Kitty Cat Birthday Card Make-do. Crayon on Paper Bag! No date, Collection Jim Linderman

Cedar Creek Charlie Fields Folk Art Sculptures from a long lost folk art environment and the book by Elinor Lander Horwitz Contemporary American Folk Artists

Three remaining folk art sculptures made by Cedar Creek Charlie. There aren't too many of them around. Of course, Mr. Fields is one of the earliest 20th century yard art creators. I've done a few posts over the years on Charlie as it was a friend of mine who paid the rights to salvage (and save) significant portions of his house. By the time they got to it the place had been ravaged by vandals. So much so that in 1990, when the Rosenak encyclopedia of American Folk Art was published, they wrote "Probably only about ten objects from the whole house and his environment survive." One if them, the "Polka--Dotten Crucifiction" wasn't even made by Charlie. It was made by a prisoner and Charlie only added the polka dots. So, they were wrong. On the other hand, I recently bought a copy of the Elinor Lander Horwitch book Contemporary American Folk Artists for the third time. Both my other copies were lost while moving. It's still available as an out-of-print book for less then ten bucks if one is patient. There have been numerous writings on Charlie but this one is still the best. No errors...and she faithtully shares pictures of both the place and the Museum of Appalachia collection. There were ten objects by Charlie there alone. I guess the Rosenaks missed them. Contemporary American Folks Artists remains a VERY entertaing survey from the earliest days of discovering these self-taught geniuses. I later learned her son was the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tony Horwitz and the mother of journalist Geraldine Brooks! So, the objects here were "insiders" in that that were installed in Charlie's house rather than spread out in the yard. The yard, which originally included a Ferris Wheel, a giant airplane and functioning Polka-dot Beehouses, was trashed. Howard Campbell and Marcus King preserved much of the exterior including the famous front door. For some revealing photographs of Charlie's yard, see SUSAN CHANDLER'S FIND A GRAVE post HERE Three objects by Cedar Creek Charlie Fields c. 1950 - 1960. (Sign Holder jar, repurposed Ball jar and Talcum power cannister. Tallest 20". Collection Jim Linderman Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Greenback Castle Fortress of Faith in Tennessee : An Excursion by Jacob the Carpetbagger

For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to come upon a magical "Folk Art Enviroment" as they are called, the spiritual construction of Floyd Bankes Junior fits the bill. Brought to you by Jacob the Carpetbagger, a most cordial and genial host. Jacob is closing in on a half million youtube followers. He brings his trademark indefatigable excitment to this place you have to see. I hate to crib content from his film, I hope he doesn't mind me sharing. I have been a fan for a long time, and his post of April 12, 2022 is, for our purposes exactly the thrill one expects to see! Follow him, support him and subscribe. You'll get a postcard from him once a month if you conribute to his Patreon Channel. I don't have half the energy for road trips but he does a fine job for me. I'll let his film do the rest of the talking. Words fail me! LINK TO JACOB THE CARPETBAGGER

1930's version of HELL in frightful tableau form

Some stealth photographs of Hell! Taken under less than ideal circumstances (flashlight and screen grabs) is this staggering mini-replica of HELL from artist Butch Anthony's collection. Road warrior Carpetbagger first shared these tableaus on a video you have to watch. Carpetbagger is a national treasure, and in his own way so is Butch! These visions were created by a traveling preacher in the 1930s. Whatever the pittance asked for viewing, it was a deal. We have a fine tradition of scaring folks into salvation in this country but these could be the best. The American version of Hieronymus Boshch. WATCH VIDEO

Oh Mercy. Trotsky and Bob Dylan Cover Art

This should interest a few Bob Dylan fans.  The original study for the album art for the Bob Dylan OH MERCY record cover.  It was done by Trotsky, who was a muralist active in New York City's Hell Kitchen neighborhood.  Dylan saw the mural while riding past on his bicycle, and obtained permission to use the painting, which was on the wall of a Chinese restaurant, for the jacket. 

Trotsky was a friend of mine and I obtained this piece, a pastel, from him.  Long ago.  The mural is, of course, long gone...and I sold the piece here long ago as well.  It is now on some other wall, and I hope loved as much as I did.  A wonderful little tribute to Mr. Dylan and the street artist Trotsky.

As you can see, in the original study there was a third person in the work which was the artist.  Some have speculated the painting was a fellow with a gun in his hand, but as you can see in the study, nope.  They were dancing!

The album was released in 1989, and as I recall I was guest at Dylan's Radio City Music Hall that year courtesy Trotsky.  Not only did Dylan's folks pay to use the painting, they gave the artist a few comps.

Original photograph "In Situ" by Jim Linderman 1986. 

BROWSE AND ORDER BOOKS AND $9.99 eBooks by Jim Linderman HERE

Drawn Money! Drawn by Hand Bill and the story of J.S.G Boggs

When I received this drawn by hand tenspot from one of my favorite antique finders (as a gift) my thoughts went to one of the greatest contemporary performance artists ever. J.S.G Boggs drew money and spent it! He raised so many questions about the relationshop between money and art that it took New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler a whole book to explain it. Basically, If Boggs wanted to purchase something for 100 dollars, he would draw a hundred dollar bill and spend it for the item. Arrested several times for counterfiting, I think he squeezed out of most charges. He didn't really sell his work...after "spending" a money drawing he would alert collectors where the transaction took place and it was up to them to track down the "Boggs Bucks" and purchase them back from the person who accepted his work of art in good faith. That is believing the drawing was so good it was equal in value to the object sold. His art was thus not valuable only for the drawn bill, the value was in the transaction. Back in the 1980s I was involved in one! A friend who was working on a profile of Boggs for television told me the artist had just spent five of his dollars for a drink at the Prince Street Bar in Soho, NY. I met the bartender, paid her for the bills (which she was happy to sell back) and received the signed receipt confirming the deal. i also subsequently met the artist himself,and he was crazy smart and interesting. Boggs passed away a few years ago. In retrospect, his "carny" background might have contributed to his oeuvre but he sure could draw good money. During his heyday, I recall hearing he had even purchased a motorcycle for a drawn 5,000 dollar bill! Let's just say he took the concept of Trompe l'oeil to the maximum. The bill here is unfinished and anonymous. I am guessing it dates to the great depression, when all most Americans had was a dream. I won't try to spend it. Read about the remarkable J.S.G Boggs in Weschler's book in Boggs: A Comedy of Values, or check his wikipedia page. A fantastic story by a magical artist and con man. Hand drawn "ten dollor bill" by anonymous, circa 1935? Collection Dull Tool Dim Bulb.

Juvenile Art Trace and Color in Crayon

Anonymous juvenile artist takes instructions literally...and traces the TITLE PAGE! Original page and corresponding traced page from Trace and Color Merrill Publishing 1937 each 11" x 15" Collection Jim Linderman / Dull Tool Dim Bulb

Three Sober Horses at the Drinking Trough. 19th Century Folk Art Drawing based on 'Three members of the Temperance Society': Three Horses at a Drinking Trough (after J. F. Herring the elder)

I much prefer this lovely folk art drawing to the original. "Three Sober Horses at the Drinking Trough" 19th Century Folk Art Drawing based on 'Three members of the Temperance Society': Three Horses at a Drinking Trough (after J. F. Herring the elder) Original Folk Art Drawing collection Jim Linderman / Dull Tool Dim Bulb.