Tuesday, May 29, 2018

National Coverage of Francis Quirk Impossible Art Exhibit in the Hamptons

We recently received this reference to Quirk's participation in the Impossible Art Exhibit show at the East Hampton Gallery. 

It appears in the February 1970 edition of artsmagazine.  We have not been able to find more information on the gallery itself. 

Francis Quirk Exhibition Review East Hampton Gallery
Quirk Exhibition Review Notice 1970

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Francis Quirk at RISD an Interest in Industrial Design

In our ongoing quest for information about Francis Quirk, we were surprised to see that we missed something in the archives of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). (It may be that they are adding content to the digital library.) Francis Quirk was listed in the departmental staff of the Student Designer for Art. 
Student Designer 1930 Rhode Island School of Design  Francis Quirk on Staff
Cover of a 1930 Edition of the Student Designer Published at RISD

When we went through the publication we could not find any byline or accreditation to him. At the time he would have been completing a post-graduate year. 

This is the second reference to his becoming involved in a Student Publication. The other was a more eclectic piece called the Salamander.  The Salamander was a short-lived student publication released monthly during the 1925-1926 academic year at the Rhode Island School of Design. Originally printed one-sided, in January 1926 the paper began to be printed on both sides of the page. Its contents were mostly comprised of fictional gossip and humor. Hand drawn illustrations are also included.  You can read more about the Salamander in an earlier blog post here. 

Francis Quirk,   Student Designer,   Publication Rhode Island School of Design
Staff Page of The Student Designer 1930    Image Complements of RISD Digital Commons

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Beautiful Quirk Painting of Seagulls Comes to Light

The second painting that recently came to light from a relative of Francis Quirk is a beautiful watercolor of seagulls. Quirk carefully worked the images of many birds in different alignments and positions on a sky blue background. It appears that he decided to work on his depiction of the waterfowl as an exercise and sought to paint them in a variety of postures as an exercise to improve his hand and master painting the creatures.

Seagulls Image, Painting of Seagulls, Quirk Art, Quirk Watercolor, Francis Quirk Painting, Francis J. Quirk Watercolor Painting
Seagull Painting by Francis J. Quirk

We had always known of Quirk's love of the sea, sailboats and coastal Maine. However, we had not seen a painting quite like this one before. Late in his life, he painted several landscape paintings as part of his Ossabaw Island Foundation Fellowship. Birds appeared in these paintings, but they were largely accents to the image adding a bit of action and life to placid scenes. There was one exception to this which is his painting of glossy faced ibis which we highlight below.  Thus, we were a bit surprised to see the "42"date which indicated that the work was executed when Quirk was in his mid 30's.

Ibis image, Ibis painting, bird ibis image, Quirk Art, Quirk Painting From Nature
Glossy White Faced Ibis by Francis Quirk

Sunday, April 15, 2018

New Quirk Art Surfaces From a Relative

Two new Francis Quirk paintings have surfaced from a relative of Francis Quirk. This post will focus on the first; a nautical painting. Quirk's summer home, Peterspen North was in Kinney Shores, Maine and he looked forward to spending time there after his retirement from Lehigh University. We suspect that this painting was executed during one of his many summers on the rocky maritime coast. 

We were particularly excited to see this painting of two fishermen heading to sea for two reasons beyond adding it to our growing image library. The first is that it is an attractive painting with an ethereal quality to the sunlight that is particularly pleasing. The ocean has not yet taken on a blue color, but is still reflecting the light of the rising sun. 

Quirk Art, Francis Quirk, Quirk Artist, Quirk Painting, Quirk Painter
Francis Quirk Painting of Fishermen Heading Out to Sea
The second reason is that we have an image of a companion painting. It is a darker composition of a boat heading in the opposite direction. Yet in this companion painting, the sky has become fully blue and the outboard engine powered boat is riding much lower in the water.  There also appears to be cargo in the front. 

Quirk art, Quirk painting, Quirk artist, Quirk painter
Francis J. Quirk Painting "Boat in an Ocean"
We display the paintings below in smaller format side by side for comparison. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Francis Quirk Curates Stanley Woodward Show in 1964

Continuing in our series on artists whose careers were enhanced through the work of Francis Quirk we look at Stanley Woodward who had a solo show at Lehigh's Alumni Gallery in May of 1964.

Our research into Woodward's show was prompted by the print he signed and dedicated to Quirk that we found among the papers auctioned in 2016 in Maine. The print image is shown  below.

New Hampshire Farm in Winter by Stanley Woodward  

The inscription reads "
From Stanley Woodward 
To Francis J. Quirk
With Warm Regards August 1, 1965"

Quirk Art, Quirk Artist,  Quirk Curator
Inscription to Francis Quirk from Stanley Woodword

We assembled the biography below on Stanley Wingate Woodward from a variety of sources. But do read on further as we have quite a lot to show from this prolific artist. 

Rockport (Massachusetts) painter and illustrator, Stanley Wingate Woodward (1890-1970) was well recognized for his marines and seascapes. He was born in Malden Massachusetts. 

Woodward's education included studies at Eric Pape School Art, School of the Boston Museum Fine Arts, and the Pennsylvania Academy Fine Arts.

He was the author of "Adventures in Marine Painting" (1948) and "Marine Painting in Oil and Watercolor" (1961). He was an illustrator for Collier's and Ford Times magazines. Woodward also was an instructor at the Woodward Outdoor Painting School (1935 -); Ringling Art School (1937-38); and the Laguna Beach School of Art & Design (1963).  He served in the United States Amy in both World Wars. He held numerous exhibitions and one-man shows.

He lived for many years in Rockport, Massachusetts with studios there as well as in Ogunquit Maine. The distinctive natural beauty of the New England coast inspired his passion for nautical subjects, which comprise the majority of his work,

He was represented by Grand Central Art Galleries, NY and the Vose Gallery, Boston.

He was belonged to many organizations and won numerous prizes, National Academy, American Watercolor Society, Baltimore Watercolor Society, the Concord Art Association,   Society of America Etchers, Boston Society of Water Color Painters, Salmagundi Club, Allied Artists American, Guild of Boston Artists, Audubon Artists New York, Rockport Art Association (prize oil 1959, Charles H. Cleaves Memorial award 1965), North Shore Arts Association (past president, Gordon Grant Mmel. award 1967), Springfield Art League (honorary), Philadelphia Water Color Club, and Academy Political Science. Other awards include the Gold medal, Jordan Marsh, 1959, 65, 1st prize watercolor American Academy Artists, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1959, Gaylord Marine prize oils, 1960, Winsor Newton prize, American Professional League, 1962, Mitton Memorial prize, 1965.

He was a member of numerous organizations including  the Concord Art Association,   Society of America Etchers, Boston Society of Water Color Painters, Allied Artists American, Guild of Boston Artists, Audubon Artists New York, Rockport Art Association (prize oil 1959, Charles H. Cleaves Memorial award 1965), North Shore Arts Association (past president, Gordon Grant Mmel. award 1967), Springfield Art League (honorary), Philadelphia Water Color Club, Academy Political Science and the Salmagundi Club.

His paintings can be found in many Museums and Collections including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Bowdoin College, Amherst College, Fort Worth Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Fogg Museum at Harvard University and a host of other private collections.

Stanley Woodward in His Studio

Since both artists were active in the Philadelphia and Ogunquit areas, there is little doubt that Quirk and Woodward met on at least a few occasions. And the affinity might have been enhanced by their sharing an affinity for the sea and a representational style.  One key difference may have been the larger name achieved by Woodward and the long tail that remains in the art world.  For example, a quick search has revealed over a hundred images of Woodward paintings in collections or that have changed hands at auction. When we began this project of learning about Quirk, we were able to locate 10-15 images.

Below is the announcement in the Brown and White describing the exhibition. 

We have made the presumption that Woodward may have influenced Quirk as he was about 17 years older.  Below we present paintings of similar subjects by both artists for you to decide if there is artistic overlap or influence. 

Stanley Woodward

quirk art   Coastal painting
Francis Quirk

It may also be that the two artists were swimming in the same milieu and there are a few types of views that make better paintings. Thus by chance they may have painted the same subjects. 

Stanley Woodward 

Francis Quirk

We will close this post with two paintings by Stanley Woodward that both show the old barn. He painted it a number of times. 

The Old Red Barn by Stanley Woodward

New Hampshire Farm in Winter by Stanley Woodward
May 2018 update. We found the painting below going up for auction at the Sandwich Auction Gallery on Cape Cod. It appears that Woodward loved painting "The Red Barn." Although this one appears different from those above.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Carl Sandburg Portrait by Francis Quirk A Better image of the Pastel Study

Through a fortuitous event the owner of the pastel portrait of Carl Sandburg that we discussed in an earlier post was able to send us a newly taken image from a better angle. 

We were pleased to receive the image as it allows the viewer to gain a better appreciation for the quality of the likeness and its execution.  We are still seeking the final oil portrait. 

Carl Sandburg Pastel Portrait by Francis Quirk  Probably a study for the oil portrait.
Pastel Portrait of Carl Sandburg by Francis J. Quirk

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Francis Quirk's Eclectic Curation Extends to Photogrpahy and Ansel Adams

We continue our research on Francis Quirk through his eclectic exhibit schedule while Head of the Art Department at Lehigh University.  Amid the 1951 exhibit schedule, he curated a Photography exhibit that included the works of four world-renowned photographers: Ansel Adams, Maurice Tabard, Andreas Feininger and Bernice Abbott. The four exhibitors were a diverse lot as each had a different style and focus, extending from nature, to fashion to urban documentation. 

Once again, Quirk is a the cutting edge. There are two factors driving this characterization. First, he included a female in an era that could be characterized as less open to artistic work from that gender. And second, it is worth noting that many art galleries would not consider showing photographs until well into the 1960's. Photography was still not treated as a high art like painting. 

This post will focus on Ansel Adams. An extensive biography may be found on the Ansel Adams Gallery Website. In 1951 Adams was well-known but still in the meat of his career. In 1950 he had just published the third of his 8 volumes of photographic folios. He was and remains America's foremost nature photographer. We have excerpted a biography of Mr. Adams below. The original can be found here on Biography.com.

Ansel Adams was born on February 20, 1902, in San Francisco, California. Adams rose to prominence as a photographer of the American West, particularly Yosemite National Park, using his work to promote conservation of wilderness areas. His iconic black-and-white images helped to establish photography among the fine arts. He died in Monterey, California, on April 22, 1984.

Early Life
Ansel Adams was born in on February 20, 1902, in San Francisco, California. His family came to California from New England, having migrated from Ireland in the early 1700s. His grandfather founded a prosperous lumber business, which Adams’ father eventually inherited. Later in life, Adams would condemn that industry for depleting the redwood forests.

As a young child, Adams was injured in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, when an aftershock threw him into a garden wall. His broken nose was never properly set, remaining crooked for the rest of his life.

Adams was a hyperactive and sickly child with few friends. Dismissed from several schools for bad behavior, he was educated by private tutors and members of his family from the age of 12.

Adams taught himself the piano, which would become his early passion. In 1916, following a trip to Yosemite National Park, he also began experimenting with photography. He learned darkroom techniques and read photography magazines, attended camera club meetings, and went to photography and art exhibits. He developed and sold his early photographs at Best’s Studio in Yosemite Valley.

In 1928, Ansel Adams married Virginia Best, the daughter of the Best’s Studio proprietor. Virginia inherited the studio from her artist father on his death in 1935, and the Adamses continued to operate the studio until 1971. The business, now known as the Ansel Adams Gallery, remains in the family.

Adams’ professional breakthrough followed the publication of his first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras, which included his famous image “Monolith, the Face of Half Dome.” The portfolio was a success, leading to a number of commercial assignments.

Halfdome by Ansel Adams1941

Between 1929 and 1942, Adams’ work and reputation developed. Adams expanded his repertoire, focusing on detailed close-ups as well as large forms, from mountains to factories. He spent time in New Mexico with artists including Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe and Paul Strand. He began to publish essays and instructional books on photography.
Photograph by Ansel Adams

During this period, Adams joined photographers Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans in their commitment to affecting social and political change through art. Adams’ first cause was the protection of wilderness areas, including Yosemite. After the internment of Japanese people during World War II, Adams photographed life in the camps for a photo essay on wartime injustice.

Weeks before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Adams shot a scene of the moon rising above a village. Adams re-interpreted the image—titled “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico”—over nearly four decades, making over a thousand unique prints that helped him to achieve financial stability.

Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico  by Ansel Adams1941

Later Life
By the 1960s, appreciation of photography as an art form had expanded to the point at which Adams’ images were shown in large galleries and museums. In 1974, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York hosted a retrospective exhibit. Adams spent much of the 1970s printing negatives in order to satisfy demand for his iconic works. Adams had a heart attack and died on April 22, 1984, at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey, California, at the age of 82.

Photograph by Ansel Adams

There is one interesting aside we will add here. Ansel Adams was close to the famous inventor Edwin Land who effectively invented instant photography at Polaroid Corporation- the company he founded. Ansel was funded by Polaroid and his work was in the Corporate Photography collection that was broken up and sold amid controversy in 2010. Edwin Land is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The author of this blog frequently visits Mr. Land when visiting relatives at the cemetery.