Monday, January 09, 2006

a master of realism

This is a 1905 oil painting by Frank E. Schoonover which appeared as an illustration in a magazine. I've two reasons for showing it: (1) The same artist did a WWI battle scene showing a great-uncle of Allen and (2) its setting is so different from our current bleak midwinter.

The painting hangs in the Delaware Art Museum. Here's the information that the museum provides:
Hopalong Takes Command,
Frank Earle Schoonover(1877-1972)
From "The Fight at Buckskin," by Clarence Edward Mulford, Outing Magazine, December 1905
Oil on canvas
30 x 20 in.
Bequest of Joseph Bancroft, 1941

Schoonover was a student at the art school of Drexel Institute (now Drexel University) when he received a scholarship to Pyle’s school at Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, during the summers of 1898 and 1899. By 1906, he had established a Wilmington studio.

Known especially for his depictions of outdoor adventure stories and of tales about Canadian far North and American West, Schoonover illustrated for many major American writers, including Jack London and Zane Grey. In this illustration for Clarence Edward Mulford’s popular Hopalong Cassidy series, the subject was the illiterate, whisky-drinking cowhand nicknamed for his limp and not the matinee-idol character of the later films. In The Fight at Buckskin, the locals stage a chaotic siege in which Hopalong ends up in a barn perched on a ledge. His vulnerable position is short-lived, and Hopalong lives to fight another day.

Schoonover’s mastery of realism is evident in the scorched, bullet-riddled wood, and Hopalong’s dry leather chaps and dusty hat. The cowboy’s face, mostly shielded from the searing sun, has the weathered look of a man worn down by the relentless violence of the Old West.

There's a Schoonover page at ERBzine which gives a bunch of thumbnail images indicating the wide range of subjects he illustrated.

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