I recently got an Alphonse Mucha art book and while I was looking through it, in front of some horror movie, with a sketchbook on my lap and a notebook with ideas on visualizing copyright, I got this idea. Those of you that know Mucha are familiar with his many personifications of the seasons as beautiful women, and then the stars as beautiful women. Here are copyright concepts as beautiful women….compliments of me.
Years ago I made a case to our media librarian to acquire The CREMASTER cycle by Matthew Barney. I had seen the visually stunning, mysterious, and grotesque preview online and I knew there was no way I was ever going to see it unless some forward thinking library bought the movie for the collection. There was only one then. There are more now.
I was just wondering what happened to artist Justine Lai’s series on her paintings of the presidents. She has moved on, as evidenced by her online gallery, but the i09 post on her work is a great sampling of of her previous concentration.
How would our world today be different if one adventurous woman had traveled back in time and had glorious sex with every single US president? Time-traveling artist Justine Lai is about to find out.
It all started with a print called “Spirited Horses” on my dining room wall. I had inherited it from my grandmother. I remember sleeplessly looking up at it on the wall of her den during ‘nap time.’ A notation on the bottom says it was copyright in 1900 by Jos. Hoover & Sons. The signature reads ‘LeRoy’ with a circular flourish around it.
Then I saw the same picture in a magazine spread of an interior designer’s home and I was so captured by coincidence that I found out all I could on the artist and wrote a short post on my blog: Vintage Prints and Small Worlds.
At that point in time, I found that the print was attributed to a Henri LeRoy (1851-), still life painter in France. I have since found that the true artistry of Spirited Horses is much more convoluted.
I hate to say it, but all my researching didn’t turn up any definitive answer on whether Henri or Anita was the author Spirited Horses, or the many other prints that came out of Jos. Hoover & Sons printing with signatures like:
On the contrary, I wonder if there may be another answer and another artist for the prints out of Jos. Hoover & Sons, separate from Henri LeRoy (1851-) and Anita Pemberton (nee LeRoy). The only person who may really know the answer is the printmaker himself: Joseph Hoover. The Philadelphia Print Shop Ltd., and the related Antique Prints Blog describe Joseph Hoover as the maker of elaborate wooden frames who later began producing prints under other publishers of the day including James F. Queen. The Library Company of Philadelphia adds that Joseph Hoover, of Swiss-German heritage, was born in Baltimore in 1830 and became one of the most prolific chromolithographers of late 19th century parlor prints after he opened his own shop. By 1893 his business was booming and he was working closely with his son, trained lithographer Henry Leander Hoover (b. Sept. 1866).
When I have a grand drawing idea I usually pencil it out and then scan it so I can put more nuance into it than just inking allows. I sketched this lady so long ago, I am not sure what the grand idea was. Now it is colored.
I inherited a strange little picture from my grandmother of two horses frightened by a storm, perhaps, or running towards some lightening. I remember staring up at the horses’ pop eyes during nap time, and am terribly satisfied having it in my house. This terrible cell phone picture is of my dining room wall, horse picture included.
It never crossed my mind to find out more about it, even though I had never seen its like anywhere else. You can imagine my surprise when I saw it included in the gallery wall of interior designer Lauren Liess | Pure Style Home while flipping through a home decorating magazine. Liess’ style is much more polished and muted, but the horse picture has the same kind of punch, I think. It is an oddity: something banal enough to look past and yet odd enough to furrow the brow upon closer inspection.
After a little searching I found that it is called Spirited Horses by Henri LeRoy (1851- ) a still life painter in France (*05/11/2015 now in question, see link to continuing research below). LeRoy’s catalog, as far as I could find, revolved around prints of fruit and flowers with a few landscapes thrown in. All of his pictures have the same feel: a controlled and factual reproduction of the subject, but strange–like looking through a warped glass. They are just a little bit naive.
I wanted to find out more about Henri LeRoy, but have been unsuccessful. He, like several other Victorian chromolithograph artists, produced much in a new and flourishing world of consumer driven art. Many chromolithographs were known for their publishers over their artists. They found a champion in Harriet Beecher Stowe who lauded them as an asset to interior decoration (Rotskoff). Perhaps because of Stowe’s support, and perhaps because a new and thriving middle class had grown from industrialism, consumption of these prints soared between 1840-1900. They were so popular, as was using the technology for cards and advertisements, that the time period became known as the “chromo civilization” (according to Wikipedia). Like any pop-art, they were not made to last and the numbers of undamaged prints out there have dwindled over the years, which is probably why I’ve only just seen Henri LeRoy’s Spirited Horses on anyone else’s wall.
cited: Lori E. Rotskoff (1997) Decorating the Dining-Room: Still-Life Chromolithographs and Domestic Ideology in Nineteenth-Century America. Journal of American Studies, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Apr., 1997), pp. 19-42