Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Conversation with Friend of Francis Quirk

Recently we had the pleasure of speaking with a friend of Francis Quirk. This gentleman and his wife had taken a painting course taught by Quirk at a Pennsylvania community college. They were friends for approximately six years prior to the famous artist's death.

The threesome enjoyed many evenings together over beers. He said that Quirk was an inquisitive and curious person of good humor. He was fascinated by new technologies and what their adoption would mean for society. Quirk was down-to-earth and fun to be around.

Quirk could be stubborn and had determination. Fore example, he once had a stroke in Florida. Rather than being treated at a Florida Hospital, he drove 36 hours back to Pennsylvania for medical care.

When it came to art and drawing Quirk had amazing talent. On a cocktail napkin, he once executed a wonderful drawing of a person without lifting the pen off the paper. He also liked to experiment with different materials and techniques. For example Quirk figured out that he could get images similar to watercolors from old Flair pens that were running out of ink.
Quirk was an eloquent speaker and analyst of paintings. He could discuss the merits of a painting like a wine connoisseur evaluating a select varietal.

Flair Pens

Quirk's transportation was a Mercury Station Wagon which he purchased because it had the largest back entrance and therefore could hold the largest paintings possible.

When our contact met Quirk, his wife Anna had already passed. Apparently she spent a significant amount of time in Coastal Maine as her allergies were exacerbated by the pollen in Pennsylvania. (Note that Quirk also once had a house in Arizona as well. Perhaps the arid climate aided her condition.)
Friend of Painter Francis Quirk, Harpo Marx
Harpo Marx Friend of Francis Quirk

Quirk also had traveled in some interesting circles.  The famous writer Edgar Lee Masters rented a room from him when Quirk was teaching at the Ogontz School. The Pulitzer Prize winning Poet Carl Sandburg also called him a friend. And perhaps most interestingly, Harpo Marx and he would frequently go and look at Art together in New York. 

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