Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wilbo Discovers a Painting By A Flemish Master That No One Knows Its Name in Elk Rapids, @PureMichigan

Over one of several fireplaces in the Elk Rapids Library, an oil painting dearly needing restoration features dancing peasants, looking much like "Fleming Kermess", by David Teniers the Younger, part of the collection of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Brussels. I asked a man at the library counter if he knew the name. He said in a gravely voice, "I have no idea". A brass tag identifies the painting as David Teniers the Younger's work. A resident from the town of Elk Rapids had donated it. The Charles Hackley library has several fine oil paintings; however, the paintings are by relatively lesser painters. The Owosso Public Library has a painting by a member of the French Impressionist circle, Frederick Carl Frieseke. His family made a fortune making bricks in Owosso and lived in a brick house that I saw in dismaying decay in 2011. It was for sale. And I did nothing. Frieseke himself gave the City of Owosso the painting, Lady with the Sunshade. Like many young and talented and rich sons and daughters of Shiawassee County, Frieseke flew the coop for Europe as soon as he could leave. I doubt David Teniers the Younger ever set foot in Elk Rapids, for he lived a long life in Antwerp as far as I can tell, passing in 1690.

The Muskegon Museum of Art has an association with a highly skilled man who restores paintings for the cost of materials. I put the librarian in touch with the director.

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