Jared French Study for “Safe,” ca. 1937
This was a drawing that was in my father-in-law's apartment. When he passed away, my wife, cleaning out the apartment, found it. So we brought it home, and reframed it, and it's been hanging in our house for the last ten years.
And so were you able to find out anything about the artist?
Well, I went on the Internet and found the artist's name. He has done paintings that are in several institutions, including the baseball museum, but I don't know anything else about him or his work.
The artist is Jared French, an American artist. It's signed down here in the lower right. And he was born in 1905 in Ossining, New York. He studied at Amherst College, and then lived in New York, worked on Wall Street, briefly, while he studied at the Art Students League. He left Wall Street after the crash in 1929, and he worked briefly for the WPA. And he ended up doing murals for various post offices and other projects. He also traveled extensively in Europe and studied the old masters over there. What he is really known for is something called magic realism, which is sort of magical elements which are merged in with realistic landscapes. So they're slightly surrealistic. And often in his compositions you will see figures standing in kind of isolated ways, not interacting with each other, sort of mysterious and enigmatic compositions. And he also is very much known for using a medium called egg tempera, which is made by mixing ground tempera pigment with water and egg yolks. So this is a departure in several ways from what he's known for, both in the medium-- this is a wash, the gray color, and here you have... this is probably gouache or tempera, these highlights, which is more opaque. And it's also a very different kind of subject for him. It's a great American subject-- baseball game. I did show it to some colleagues at the sports memorabilia table, and although they weren't able to specifically identify any of the particular players or if it was a famous catch of a particular game-- you know, that is something that might be achieved with further research.
Now, I did want to show the back of this and talk about... this label. So tell me about this.
We reframed it, and this paper was the backing of the original way that it was framed. And it said that it was the drawing of the painting by the same name—“Safe”-- which was in the baseball museum in Cooperstown.
And I just want to show that this is an exemplary way to preserve information when you are reframing something. If there's a label or inscriptions written on the backing, it's so important to save that and reattach it to the new backing. I was able to confirm that there is a painting called “Safe” in the Hall of Fame. I think if you were to sell this retail, it might bring as much as $20,000.
Wow. I'm going to go to Cooperstown now and look at the painting.
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