Saturday August 30, 2014




Art history and fishing come together in cards

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Postcard

Welcome to Week XCVIII of 'Fishing Parkland Shorelines'. Like most of us I am a novice fisherman, loving to fish, but far from an expert. In the following weeks I'll attempt to give those anglers who love to fish but just don't have access to a boat, a look at some of the options in the Yorkton area where you can fish from shore, and hopefully catch some fish.


So last week I started a look at how post cards had somehow found a way to slip into me philately collection of first day covers, minisheets, and maxicards.

As I explained then, since my small collection is a topical one, based on sport fish and sport fishing, it didn't take much of a leap to find some amazing post cards reflecting the general collection.

And and inquisitive perch looking and some strange artificial lures popping gently in the water, I took a closer look, and was soon hooked.

Among my earliest finds were a couple of ice fishing post cards.

I was fortunate to find two reasonably-priced postcards depicting ice fishing by Russian artist Ivan Semenov. I note reasonably-priced because postcards based on Semenov's pieces depicting a level of mirth related to the subjects are usually in the $15 range before shipping, which is a bit more than I like to invest, even though there are a few summer fishing postcards with his works I would love to have.

And therein lies the thing we collectors seem to relish, the search.

Yes, it is a joy going through the page of the collection just to relax, but there is something about the hunt which exhilarates.

I suppose it's a feeling not so unlike the one fisherman seek every time we cast a lure.

It is the thrill of the hunt, something which no doubts connects us in some small way to out hunter-gatherer roots somewhere in the ancient beginnings of our species.

We no longer hunt and fish for subsistence, well most of us at least don't, but we are still in some way drawn to the challenge and the thrill of it.

Some of us hunt, some fish, others collect. We pick our prey from some book, be it a stamp, a coin, farm tractor, or post card, and we go on the hunt. We give up Saturday mornings to drive the city stopping at yard sales in hopes our prey might be hiding in the piles of 'stuff' on the tables. We frequent stores selling used goods, we hit antiques shops, we spend hours going through page after page on sale items on Internet sites such as ebay.com.

And when we find it, we are thrilled.

Such was the case finding the Semenov cards on ebay.

Born Aug. 17 (30), 1906, in Rostov-on-Don, Semenov studied at the Rostov Art Technicum from 1926 to 1928. An outstanding Soviet caricaturist, he specialized in india-ink drawings combined with watercolor. His works mainly satirize everyday life. He is also a children's cartoonist, and since 1957 had been editor in chief of the journal Veselye kartinki (Merry Pictures).

Another artist whose works in postcard form quickly drew me in was Thomas Kinkade (January 19, 1958 – April 6, 2012).

Kinkade "was an American painter of popular realistic, bucolic, and idyllic subjects. He is notable for the mass marketing of his work as printed reproductions and other licensed products via The Thomas Kinkade Company. He characterized himself as "Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light," a phrase he protected through trademark but one originally attributed to the English master J.M.W. Turner. It is estimated that one in every 20 American homes owns a copy of one of his paintings," detailed Wikipedia.

"A key feature of Thomas Kinkade's paintings are their glowing highlights and saturated pastel colors. Rendered in highly idealistic American scene painting values, his works often portray bucolic, idyllic settings such as gardens, streams, stone cottages, lighthouses and Main Streets. His hometown of Placerville (where his works are omnipresent) is the inspiration of many of his street and snow scenes. He has also depicted various Christian themes including the Christian cross and churches.

"The fine-art world overwhelmingly derided Kinkade's work as little more than commercially successful kitsch. Kinkade received criticism for the extent to which he had commercialized his art, for example, selling his prints on the QVC home shopping network. Others have written that his paintings are merely kitsch, without substance, and have described them as chocolate box art and "mall art.""

Whatever the art world thinks of Kinkade's work, I love the two postcards I have depicting men fishing.


 - Postcard -

Postcard

While many of my art postcards reflect much earlier times, one by LeRoy Neiman from a piece entitle 'Marlin' is more modern and very striking.

I recall Neiman's work from publications such as Sports Illustrated and Playboy from my younger years, and Marlin was a postcard I just had to have, because of the artist.

For those unfamiliar "Neiman worked in oil, enamel, watercolor, pencil drawings, pastels, serigraphy and some lithographs and etching. Neiman is
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listed in Art Collector's Almanac, Who's Who in the East, Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World. His works have been displayed in museums, sold at auctions, and displayed in galleries and online distributors. He is considered by many to be the first major sports artist in the world … His work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian, the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the State Hermitage Museum in Russia, Wadham College at Oxford and in museums and art galleries the world over, as well as in private and corporate collections," details Wikipedia.

Nieman of course is quite famous as an artist, and it's not all that unusual find the work's of masters on postcards.

'Leaping Trout' an 1889 work by Homer Winslow is one example.

"Winslow Homer was an American landscape painter and printmaker, who died in 1910 best known for his marine subjects. He is considered one of the foremost painters in 19th-century America and a preeminent figure in American art.

"Largely self-taught, Homer began his career working as a commercial illustrator. He subsequently took up oil painting and produced major studio works characterized by the weight and density he exploited from the medium. He also worked extensively in watercolor, creating a fluid and prolific oeuvre, primarily chronicling his working vacations," detailed Wikipedia.

'La Truite' is a stunning 1819 piece by Gustave Courbet that has a darker feel to it, which I suppose was what drew me to the post card.

"Jean Désiré Gustave Courbet, who died in 1877, was a French painter who led the Realist movement in 19th-century French painting. The Realist movement bridged the Romantic movement (characterized by the paintings of Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix) with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. Courbet occupies an important place in 19th century French painting as an innovator and as an artist willing to make bold social statements through his work," notes Wikipedia.

In terms of darker images 'The Pegged Down Fishing Match' by Walter Dendy Sadler fits.

While Neiman, Courbet and Winslow were known to me, some fragment of high school art class perhaps, or a more recent category on 'Jeopardy' Sadler was not.

But as it happened Angle Books in Britain recently released a few post cards with cover art from old fishing books, in this case Sadler's work was a cover for 'Poles Apart: A history of the London Roach Pole by Micahel Nadell.

"Walter Dendy Sadler was born in Dorking, a market town in Surrey in southern England, and brought up in Horsham, West Sussex, England. At age 16 he decided to become a painter and enrolled for two years at Heatherly's School of Art in London, subsequently studying in Germany under Burfield and Wilhelm Simmler," helped out Wikipedia.

"He exhibited at the Dudley Gallery from 1872 and at the Royal Academy from the following year through to the 1890s. He was a member of the RBA, he also exhibited at the RA (Royal Academy). He painted contemporary people in domestic and daily life pursuits, showing them with comical expressions illustrating their greed, stupidity etc. His subjects were usually set in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries with sentimental, romantic and humorous themes. Before painting a scene he would create elaborate settings in which local villagers would often pose as models. Indeed, as he often used the same props and models, these can sometimes be seen repeated in successive paintings in different guises. The home, the inn, the lawyers office, the garden and the golf course all provide subjects for his wit and clever social observation.

"A number of his paintings are in museum collections."

By now you will realize I like to discover a bit about the artists too. It just adds a bit the nest time I thumb the pages of the collection.

For example, I have a post card of a woman holding a trout proudly in one hand a fly rod in another. It was on the few 'nicely carried out' pieces with a woman fishing. It is from the Second World War era, byJulius Engelhard.

Englehard was a painter and illustrator born in the former Dutch East Indies in Sumatra. "He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, was a member of the New Munich Poster Artists Association and employee of the "Simplicissimus" and numerous other magazines. He created numerous advertising posters, especially for the German cigarette factory Manoli, and, later during the Weimar Republic, he focus shifted to political posters."

It is one of the cards which really stands out in the collection.

When it comes to famous artist works on post cards 'Men Fishing From Boats' by Claude Monet has to be among the most notable which fit my narrow-themed collection. This is one I really should secure for my collection. Ebay here I come.


 - Postcard -

Postcard

In the meantime, Oscar-Claude Monet, (1840 – 1926) was a founder of French Impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature. The term "Impressionism" is derived from the title of his painting Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise), which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates as an alternative to the Salon de Paris.

Right there with Monet's work on a post card would be the one with 'Fishing In Spring Boat River' by Vincent Van Gogh, another post card on my 'must acquire' list.

Van Gogh of course is an artist whose works gained favour only after an untimely death.

But today he is among the most highly respected artists of history.

"Vincent Willem van Gogh was a post-Impressionist painter of Dutch origin whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty and bold color, had a far-reaching influence on 20th-century art. After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, he died aged 37 (1890) from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted (although no gun was ever found). His work was then known to only a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still.

"Van Gogh began to draw as a child, and he continued to draw throughout the years that led up to his decision to become an artist. He did not begin painting until his late twenties, completing many of his best-known works during the last two years of his life. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolors, drawings, sketches and prints. His work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes, portraits and paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.

"Following his first exhibitions in the late 1880s, Van Gogh's fame grew steadily among colleagues, art critics, dealers and collectors. After his death, memorial exhibitions were mounted in Brussels, Paris, The Hague and Antwerp. In the early 20th century, there were retrospectives in Paris (1901 and 1905), and Amsterdam (1905), and important group exhibitions in Cologne (1912), New York (1913) and Berlin (1914). These had a noticeable impact on later generations of artists. By the mid 20th century Van Gogh was seen as one of the greatest and most recognizable painters in history …

Van Gogh's works are among the world's most expensive paintings ever sold, based on data from auctions and private sales," details Wikipedia.

Of course there are postcards found, not purchased for one reason, or another, yet coveted.

Such are postcards based on the work of Lance Thackeray.

Lot 'Lance' Thackeray (1869 - 1916) was an English illustrator, known especially for his comic sporting illustrations involving billiards and golf and for his many humorous postcards, including a set of five on fishing. He was born in Darlington to Thomas Thackeray and Selina Neish. He was a founding member of the London Sketch Club. When he was over 30 he spent some winters in Egypt and produced humorous sketches which he collected in The Light Side of Egypt (1908). Thackeray drew the designs for over 950 postcard prints, mostly comic, and made a great number of illustrations for the humorous Press in England," notes Wikipedia.

Of the five fishing postcards two I have missed on Ebay, a third I finally acquired recently. The set are something of a Holy Grail for my collection at present, so I will be 'hunting' the remaining four for months I am sure.

That's what makes the hobby, the search.

There are always bigger fish to catch, new lakes to try, new species, new lures, new techniques. It keeps the fishing hobby exciting.

But on the days when I can't fish, my modest stamp-related collection, allows me the same feelings that I enjoy so much when I go in search of pike and walleye.

And so evolves the collection. That is what keeps it fresh, a few additions, something new and different. With each addition comes an opportunity to learn as well. It is so easy to go from finding an FDC and then web-searching the country, to then learn more about loons after adding a stamp to the collection because you hear them out fishing, or looking to find out about the artist behind an old postcard. It is such things that draw us to collect, and I enjoy it as an aspect of my fishing hobby.


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