Help with artist's name on 2 civil war(?) soldiers paintings

Discussion in 'Art' started by journeymagazine, Aug 4, 2023.

  1. journeymagazine

    journeymagazine Well-Known Member

    I think I showed these here before but when I came across them again I got to wondering how old they were & who made them - and I finally took the back off of one to see if there was anything there.
    There was - the first thing I noticed was that these were not as old as I thought/hoped; they are dated 1981!
    And there was the artist's name signed on the back, but I can not figure out the last name? I can see Frank J. ...? (Verni?) Can anyone tell me who the artist was? And if they were a known artist?
    Also, is this folk art?
    Thank you for any help!

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  2. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    Frank J. Verni, Baldwin, New York. By a hobbyist, I'd think. who admires Van Gogh. The first one may be meant to be Ulysses S. Grant.


  3. journeymagazine

    journeymagazine Well-Known Member

    Ahh I thought it was the artist - thank you Deb!
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  4. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    By "hobbyist" @Debora might have meant that the artist was somebody who painted as a hobby, not a professional artist? Or at least that is what I assumed the word meant in this case.
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  5. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    Yes, that's what I meant. An amateur artist. Someone who enjoys painting as a pastime.

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  6. pearlsnblume

    pearlsnblume Well-Known Member

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  7. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    Well found! That is fascinating. So an outsider artist. Here's the contact page from web site of nephew who rescued his paintings. He may well be interested in acquiring.

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  8. pearlsnblume

    pearlsnblume Well-Known Member

    Thanks Debora, I saw he was from Long Island so I had to take a look.
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  9. Roaring20s

    Roaring20s Well-Known Member

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  10. journeymagazine

    journeymagazine Well-Known Member

    But the painting is of
    I tried to read link but the ny times keeps popping up a $1 a week ($52 a year) subscription offer to read it!
    Is Frank J Verni the artist or the soldier pictured?? (Thanks)
  11. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member


    A Breed Apart
    • By Benjamin Genocchio
    • Jan. 6, 2008
    The art world has long been aware of the singular beauty and intensity of outsider art, also known as art brut — work by self-taught artists, or those with mental disabilities. These are artists working outside the mainstream, historically having little or no contact with art galleries and museums.

    Outsider art has its patrons and admirers. Several art galleries now specialize in this type of work, and for more than a decade an Outsider Art Fair has taken place annually in New York City. (This year’s runs from Jan. 25 to 27.) There is also a major museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, dedicated to collecting and exhibiting the work of outsider artists of various degrees of self-tutelage.

    Outsider art tends to be obsessive, repetitive and illustrational, depicting offbeat ideas, intricate fantasy worlds or symbolic representations of emotional and mental states. Graphic sexual imagery is common. So, too, is a high degree of spontaneity, for much of this art is made without preliminary designs or conscious thought. The artist simply sits down and begins to draw or paint.

    These qualities are very much in evidence in “Nothing Is Black + White” at Art Sites in Riverhead, an astonishing exhibition of the work of 17 outsider artists from around the world, including Long Island. Impressive in its range, startling in its beauty, this is one of the best shows of the fall and winter season to date. It is also the largest, most densely hung and ambitious exhibitions ever mounted at this plucky little alternative art space. There are more than 100 works on view.

    An untitled piece by Danielle Jacqui.

    The exhibition is a kind of lucky accident; it was never intended to be like this. Initially, Glynis Berry, the gallery director, invited Candyce Brokaw, an outsider artist based in Quogue, to have a solo exhibition here. Uncertain about the idea of showing alone, Ms. Brokaw asked a few outsider artist friends to join her. They, in turn, asked their friends, and so on. Ms. Berry and Ms. Brokaw kept adding works until the gallery was packed.

    The result is an incredible selection of recent works by many of today’s leading outsider artists, among them Gerard Sendrey, a French naïve or outsider artist of considerable renown. An office worker until he was almost 40, he gave it up to devote himself to visionary painting. Showing here are some of his recent paintings of figures made of dense, meshed lines in black ink on white paper. They are vaguely reminiscent of woodblock printing.

    Ody Saban is another well-known artist on the outsider art circuit. A kind of nomad, she was born in Istanbul to Sephardic Jewish parents and was educated in a convent there. Later she lived in Israel, Egypt, France and the United States. Her works depict an inner world of dreams and fantasy, often with a strong sexual undercurrent, as revealed in two very impressive drawings showing here; each depicts two immense nude figures embracing.

    Seeing the work of artists like Ms. Saban and Mr. Sendrey is probably reason enough to visit this show. But equally impressive is the artwork of several lesser-known artists, among them John Levien, Peter Marbury and Ms. Brokaw, all natives of Long Island. Mr. Marbury’s steel sculptures are especially interesting and beautiful, though he is not, strictly speaking, an outsider artist, having spent some time studying at the Art Students League of New York.

    The show’s real revelation, however, is Uncle Frank Verni, another Long Islander. Mr. Verni, who died in 1991, served with the Marines in the Pacific during World War II and then returned to his home town of Baldwin. He got a job making posters and fliers for the Town of Hempstead and began creating paintings of faces and figures using paint mixed with Elmer’s glue. About 85 of his glue paintings were salvaged from a trash bin by a nephew, George Cork Maul, an East End musician and composer, after Mr. Verni’s death.

    According to Ms. Berry, this exhibition is the first time that Mr. Verni’s works have been exhibited in a gallery. They are innocuous-looking but also sort of mesmerizing, which is saying something, given the caliber of the artists in this show. At any rate, the dozen or so of his works on display here reveal a true, talented outsider artist who must be considered a remarkable new find. I look forward to seeing more exhibitions of his highly original work.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2023
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