Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Red Rose Calendar, 1902

I promised to send a visual reference to a student in my senior studio and did so, but heard back that the attachement failed. It's actually easier to post the images here, and more people benefit.

So: Julie, a key drawing in black with supporting coloration has taken many forms over the last 100 years or so, but the examples you showed in your sketchbook reminded me in particular of a collaborative project between Jessie Wilcox Smith and Elizabeth Shippen Green from 1902: a self-published calendar that attracted attention and was republished as The Book of the Child in 1903. Tender drawing, atmospheric color, persisting art nouveau linear architecture, a dash of Japonisme.

These reproductions appear in Alice Carter's wonderful book, The Red Rose Girls (Abrams, 2002) concerning the interlocked careers and relationships of Jessie Wilcox Smith, Elizabeth Shippen Green, and Violet Oakley. All of these examples are by Smith. I don't have handy scans of the E.S.G. images, which if anything I prefer. Charming stuff.

A fascinating story, to speak in understatement.


lotusgreen said...

these are so lovely. they were from a calendar? i never knew this. have you seen the one with a volumn of 'artistic japan' on her bookshelf?

Joyce said...

To direct lotus green, "the one with a volume of 'artistic japan' on her bookshelf" is an illustration by Elizabeth Shippen Green called The Library and was created as one of a series of illustrations for an August 1905 Harper's Monthly Magazine article called "Mistress of the House." It is in the collection of the Delaware Art Museum. The following year, Green wrote in a letter that that image was in fact of her library at The Red Rose.

lotusgreen said...

oh that is very cool! so that one was not in the calendar?

having been in the mood for doing this these days, i would love to re-assemble the whole calendar.

i just uploaded some additional images here. do you know if any of these are from the calendar? (my source no longer has any of her work on their site.)


Joyce said...

Morning Lotusgreen,

The left and middle images are from the calendar. The Girl gardening is by ESG and was for the May June 1904 page and the Boy eating the fruit (appels?) was by JWS for the September October 1904 page. Altogether there were 7 images (six two month pages and the cover page). The child in front of the stove was for the January February page. I notated the calendar as 1904 because the copy of the calendar in the Delaware Art Museum is clearly dated 1904. Joyce

DB Dowd said...

Joyce: thanks for the follow up. I wonder if the calendar in the Delaware Museum is a repeat use of the 12-month cycle of images, or if the date cited in Carter's book (1902) is incorrect. What do you think?

Joyce said...

Good question Doug. I suppose it is more likely that the images may have been used more than once for the same type of calendar. The next question is who was the calendar publisher and who owned the images after they were produced. I just finished describing on the Rockwell Center web site posting from last Thursday that typically the publisher owned the image it commissioned and that it was a special arrangement for the original illustration to go back to the artist.

lotusgreen said...

this is fascinating. thanks so much, joyce. how do you know so much about this?

so there's also the image with christmas gifts so that must be nov/dec. the one in the hammock-- more likely july/august than march/april, i would imagine. then i'm only missing one.

plus as far as the book goes, i've seen that one with artistic japan mentioned in a couple of places as the frontispiece for the book, so perhaps it was just taken from elsewhere than the calendar. and found versions of the cover and title page. now where is march april?

regarding getting the date right or wrong. the more i get into researching the same basic area of studies, the more i find totally contradictory things, stated not as opinion but as fact.

i've been searching for the name of a certain artist who did a recurring image for a magazine. i finally found a library book which is supposedly a complete index for the magazine and finally they stated who the artist was.

it wasn't who i had thought, but i went and looked at this other artist's work and it looked NOTHING like the piece i was wondering about (unlike the work of the one i'd thought it was whose does).

so what? maybe i'm just wrong. someone got it wrong by mistake? someone just guessed?

isn't this, to some extent anyway, what art history is about -- resolving these conflicts of truth?

i'll shut up now and go read you on the rockwell site.

DB Dowd said...

Lotusgreen, Joyce does indeed know a great deal about these things, as an art historian with a wealth of investment in illustration. Formerly of the Delaware Art Museum, a major site for Brandywine School illustration, she is now the Director of the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies. http://www.rcavs.org/

Art historians often struggle to make sense of illustration, because commercial and popular images fall beyond the ideological scope of the discipline as it has been traditionally defined. Joyce is indeed a rarity. She and her colleagues at the Rockwell are one sharp–yet generous and gracious–bunch. (As her comments here plainly suggest.)

lotusgreen said...

ah yes, so i just found out by going to the rockwell center site. i was just about to say so but apparently have lost my wordpress password. :^(

what a cool job she has!

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