Tuesday, September 12, 2006
One of the most interesting antique art works that we own is this amazing little oil painting of a country church. Strictly speaking, this would likely be considered an "American primitive" piece, less, perhaps because of its age and more so because of its composition, technique, and its highly unusual surface. This painting is rendered on a giant preserved fungus, not unlike those featured in my previous post.
The painting itself is quite good. Simple and folksy, but expertly and artfully realized. There is no signature or date, nor anything else to trace the paintings provenance. Its age is uncertain, but my wife the antique dealer is sure that it is well over 50 years old, possibly much older. Here in eastern Indiana, there are many little country churches that look like this, but it is not one that I have been able to locate.
Here is a picture of the back of the mushroom. It appears to have been dried and then preserved with some type of shellac or clear varnish. There are some nicks in the fungus on both front and back, and the crazing of the paint is clearly visible, but the mushroom itself is really not fragile. It is light, but solid. It feels a lot like papermache'.
Its dimensions are approximately 7.75" x 6" x 1.5". We keep it on a little easel with a small, antique quilt sample.
It would be interesting to know if more of this type of work exists, if anyone else has ever seen such a thing, or has any additional info at all. (Yes, I'm talking to both of you who occassionaly read my blog...)