Friday, June 10, 2011

More on that Geiszel watercolor

In the previous post I pictured a watercolor of a surf caster fishing near a sand dune and attributed it to Margaret Malpass Geiszel. Further consideration indicates that it may in fact more likely be the work of her husband, John H. Geiszel (1892-1973 or '74, Philadelphia, PA), listed in Davenport, Mallett, etc. Educated at the Pennsylvania Museum and School (now the Philadelpha Museum of Art) and a member and past-president of the Philadelphia Sketch Club, Geiszel was a well-known teacher but apparently not a prolific artist. His work is said to be held in public and private collections, but seldom comes up for sale.

I was able to find signature examples of both John and Margaret. All examples of Margaret's signature include her initials, M.M. The only example of John's signature that I have yet found is from an oil painting, but the form of the letters, especially the G, strongly resembles the signature of this little watercolor, and indicates that it may more likely be by his hand than by hers.

Margaret Malpass Geiszel

John H. Geiszell

The watercolor in question...

Taking into account that the different media have to be handled differently, I think you'll agree that the similarity is clearly seen. Of course, what's also clearly seen is the similarity between Margaret's and John's signatures... So at this point, it's still an attribution, but I'm prepared to attribute it to John.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is this drawing by Roland H. Clark?

Maybe? Probably not? I don't know. It's well done, the signature is very similar (but is that middle initial really an H?), the date is right, but the subject matter is not at all typical. Still, artists have been known to dash off personal works for friends or family, or sometimes just for fun, that have little or no similarity to their "important" work.

Here's another one. Is this watercolor by Margaret Malpass Geiszel? Maybe... but I don't know. This one too is well done, the style is right, she worked in watercolors, the scene could easily have been found on the nearby New Jersey shore, and the signature is very similar but it lacks the MM that she usually used.

Both of these are recent acquisitions, both stand up well on their own, but can either of them be confidently attributed? Probably not by me, but maybe someone better equipped will come forward to buy them, or maybe they will simply be bought and enjoyed by someone who really isn't concerned about the identity of the artist.

And now for something completely different-- a mid-century industrial work station chair, completely original, well-used but not abused, with an adjustable seat height and back height. It might have been for a sewing machine operator, or someone who worked at a parts assembly bench, but what attracted my eye was it's anthropomorphic quality. I see a funny little creature standing there, looking out at me.

That's the fun of this business of collecting stuff, whether for ourselves or for others. There are unanswered questions, mysteries, and even the occasional intentional misconception and the smile that accompanies it.