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In Search of Frank Bowers...
Limbo Lizard
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 24, 2006
Posts: 779
From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2013-08-06 08:24 am   Permalink


On 2013-08-06 04:40, bigbrotiki wrote:
The paintings are not on canvas, but on particle board. Plus the composition of each seems to be balanced for the frame and size they are in. My guess is these are not mural pieces, but were painted as a set for someone's rumpus room, I estimate in the early 50s.

By "particle board", I expect you're referring to Masonite hardboard. The paintings do seem balanced for the frame, but then, again... If cutting from a larger scene, one would carefully select the areas that would work well in a frame. There is a difference in scale, but looking back through the Bowers murals, I see several instances of large foreground figures, with smaller medium and background figures. Bora Boris noted different patinas, which seems to indicate against my theory. (But it may introduce a new puzzle. Doesn't a painting's patina develop as a result of age and exposure? Does it make sense that they were painted years apart?) I still think the lack of signatures is curious, and it's why I first thought they may have come from a mural.

I'm now imagining a wall or backdrop composed of a number of full and partial 4' x 8' sheets of Masonite. Then, later, the mural or backdrop was taken down. Perhaps the person in possession first tried to sell it, as a whole, but found no one with the room (or interest) to reassemble the whole thing. Or, it's also very possible there was significant damage done - it's very difficult to take down nailed-up Masonite boards, without cracking it or tearing out holes where the nails are. It's not like prying up a sturdy sheet of plywood. Maybe the sections (intact or damaged) were stored for some time in a garage. The most exposed board may have developed a different patina, at this point. Finally, the owner decided to salvage the parts that could be reduced to framed paintings, either to sell or keep. The parts that spanned two boards weren't usable. But these two paintings are some of - and maybe the only - sections that worked out for this purpose.

If the boards could be removed from the frame, a close examination of the edges would be interesting. If any paint is on the thin side edges, then they could NOT have been cut, after the painting. BUT, if the paint on the flat surface goes completely to all edges, but there is NO incidental paint on the sides, it seems to me to strongly indicate they were cut, AFTER painting.

Either way, I'm quite envious, and congratulate you both on these remarkable acquisitions!
"The rum's the thing..."

[ This Message was edited by: Limbo Lizard 2013-08-06 14:50 ]

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