Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Almost Birthday George

Here is a little send-up in honor of President's Day today: a rosy-cheeked George Washington holding a flower and riding a spotted horse. I adore this flat two-dimensional style of illustration known as "fraktur" painting. It was done by a Pennsylvania German artist (ca. 1780-90) in a style reminiscent of a medieval illuminated manuscript. The term fraktur, meaning fractured writing, refers to the style of Gothic German lettering, also known as blackletter. The painter of this watercolor and ink portrait of Washington is unknown, but attributed to Sussel, the name of the historian who first studied the painting. It is included in the National Park Service's "Treasures of the Nation" collection. Follow their link and you can click on (almost) any letter of the alphabet to go on a treasure hunt—with exception to the letters K, N, U, X, Y & Z, which are still waiting for their designated treasures. Time might be ripe for the NPS to begin a Kickstarter campaign to fund the rest of the alphabet of the Nations' Treasures.
Another fraktur portrait of GW, circa 1831. 
::From the Mennonite Heritage Center via The Reporter.

An ink and watercolor portrait of the man looking a little pale. 7.25 x 6" (no date). ::From Christy Auction House via Live Auctioneers.
This is another remarkable work of American folk art made from various kinds of scroll-cut woods. It is all laid on red fabric and is in the original wooden scroll-cut frame with elaborate medallions and a crest dating 1915.
::From Cowan Auctions 

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