Friday, September 4, 2015

Four more Francis Quirk Paintings at Lehigh University

Today we post the images of the final five paintings from the Lehigh University Art Gallery collection. 

Image of Lehigh University President John McDowell Leavitt
John McDowell Leavitt by Francis Quirk Oil on Canvas Image Courtesy of Lehigh University

The first is of an earlier President of the University, John McDowell Leavitt DD who was in charge from 1875-1879. The profile portrait was painted from a picture or some other source as Quirk was not even born until 1907. The painting hangs in the University's Presidents Gallery. It is reminiscent of a Lincoln cent profile, technically very well executed with nice hands and execution of the fabrics, but is relatively uninspiring. We do not hold this against Quirk as it was probably painted to order.

"The Lunenberger R. W. F" by Francis Quirk Oil on Canvas Image Courtesy of Lehigh University
The second painting is a nautical scene of “The Lunenberger, R.W.F.” and was painted in 1970. As a boy coming of age at this time, I remember well ethereal posters and artworks such as 'Yes' Album Covers and the like that appealed to smokers of cannabis. 

Yes Album Cover Art

These were plastered all over the fraternity houses at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute that I frequented to access their Foosball tables or comic books. With its swirling clouds, this painting fits into this genre, which holds little appeal for this viewer.
painting of Spring on South Mountain by Francis J. Quirk
Spring on South Mountain by Francis Quirk Oil on Canvas   Image Courtesy of Lehigh University
On a more positive note, the third painting from 1955 “Spring On South Mountain” holds greater appeal. The eye follows a stream up into the spring hills giving the work surprising depth.  As the trees bud out and dogwood flowers, the world transforms from the browns of winter to the bright green of early spring. The color palette is unusual, but oddly appealing. This is the first landscape of Quirk’s to come to our attention and it is a creditable work.

image of Biddle Pool Maine painted by Francis Quirk
Biddle Pool Maine by Francis Quirk Oil on Canvas Image Courtesy of Lehigh University
The fourth painting from 1956 is “Biddle Pool Maine” and it probably was executed during one of his summers in “Vacationland.” Executed in a more painterly, ‘en plein aire’ fashion it does capture the movement of the massive waves of water one can see along the Maine Coast. 

View from Marginal Way in Ogunquit Maine

Map of Ogunquit Maine
Again hearkening back to my youth I remember walking on the Marginal Way in Ogunquit looking down over the massive rocks as gigantic waves rolled in. (How my parents let me climb among those rocks without freaking out amazes me. Perhaps that was one of the benefits of a large family- if they lost one or two there were others to carry on the family name. The portfolio theory of genetics.)

The final painting is “Young Pakistani Lady #1” and it was gifted to the school by Viola Fearnsworth. The relatively small oil on board may have been a study for something else or part of a series of studies. It is endearing in a certain way with soft hues. Beyond that there is not much more to say.

Image of Young Pakistani Lady #3 by Francis J. Quirk
Young Pakistani Lady by Francis Quirk  
Image Courtesy of Lehigh University

We continue to scour the world for Quirk works. There are no paintings in the collection of Penn State University Museum. But there may be a few old paintings hanging around the old Ogontz College campus that is now Penn State Abington.

Map of the Penn State University System  Abington is in the lower right, near Philadelphia.

We are waiting on images from the University of Georgia and the University of Notre Dame.

The ball may have been dropped on one picture that was auctioned in New England recently. It was a landscape of fields and trees signed “T. Quirk.” After seeing more of Quirk’s signatures, I now believe in hindsight that it was executed by Francis Quirk with the ‘F’ missing the lower cross hatch. Efforts to relocate that image have been fruitless. If it turns up, we will post it for you to make your own decision.

This lengthy post would not be complete without a thank you to the helpful people at Lehigh University Art Gallery who reached into their archives for us.

No comments:

Post a Comment