Picturing Dorothy Images 1909-1912

May 12, 2005
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Hi, Jim:

Thanks for the images. They seem to show a genuine but unfinished Fisher picture, which could make it valuable. I have never seen a name other than Fisher’s own included on one of his illustrations. Again, if it can be authenticated, it may make your picture worth a nice sum.

As to the question of Fisher’s skill-vs.-popularity, it’s a matter for debate, I guess. I have looked a bit into Fisher’s career, and in addition to consulting all the available books on the artist I was in touch with several major Fisher collectors during research for my book on Dorothy Gibson, published last year. I base my opinion on those sources and my own study of his work. Personally I don’t think artists lose their skill, but they do lose their appeal, sadly. I think that’s what happened to Fisher, Christy and Charles Dana Gibson.

Here’s a link to the Amazon.com page for my book. Right now, the book isn’t available new, as the first print run sold out, but some of the used book sites like Bookfinder.com may have copies. There is a possibility that a new edition will be released but I have no idea when that may be.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0615127525/qid=1111014290/sr=11-1/ref=sr_11_1/102-6173545-3086525?n=283155

I wish you luck in tracking down the back story for this very interesting piece. The model isn’t Dorothy Gibson, by the way, as the published version of that picture appeared two years before Fisher hired her. The girl in your picture could be Irene Howley who was a "Fisher Girl" just before Dorothy came on (1909), and whom Dorothy resembled slightly.

Randy

PS) If I can help you further, feel free to contact me privately.
 

jim voigt

Member
Apr 24, 2006
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Thanks Randy! I am no expert and you are right about them not losing their skill I imagine. I had this sent to an expert online and she says the exact same thing you do and one other as well, it is also my conclusion as well it is an unfinished painting that most likely was given to Mae Merritt. I a going to have it authenticated by Jean Perre De Ambrigo (I believe that is his name) he is in Alexandria, Va. close to my work. He is quite well known I found out and has done many authentications for major museums and institutions.
I did however take it up to an auction House in NYC and briefly showed it Walt Reed of the Illustration House, he thought it to be a copy but admitted it was a watercolor. The thing is I was only there for about 2 mins as we parked in a no parking area and I don't think he even understood I thought it was an unfinished painting and that it had Babe Ruth's wife's name on it. He is quite old, and does not hear too well, a nice guy though. The receptionist did tell me he misses a lot things, so I did not let him discourage me. Of course it is not like the ones from 1907 or that era, it lacks shadowing and finished detail. Also how could someone copy the name Mae Merritt from a print if it is not on any? Like you and other experts I have talked to, they all say the same thing that Fisher has never double signed any prints and they have never seen one either no less one that said Mae Merritt.
One other point is that if there were a copy, the person did a good job with subject itself but the signature is not nearly the same as in the print, but of course is of the style of Fisher. I could of even copied the signature better, and trust me I am no artist, so it is all these things together convinced me it is authentic.
I was told that auction houses in general are very afraid to take anything they feel can't be verified and are so afraid of being sued and such.They will immediately reject anything that does not have any provenance or some sort of authentication.
Sorry thought that might be Dorothy, I will check out your book, I have a couple more images that are without the glass and you can see a little better. Thanks again for writing back. I will be in touch! (sorry if these are duplicates)Jim.
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jim voigt

Member
Apr 24, 2006
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I think made a mistake on Claire Mae maiden name it is actually "Merritt" and her married name was Hodgson, and married Frank Hodgson who died in 1922, geez sorry about that, I got it screwed up.