Hello, my name is Karl Marxhausen. When I moved to Carrollton, Missouri in 1990 from California, I knew nothing about the wood engraver Fred Geary. After reading the file clipping on Geary (above), taken from the Carrollton Public Library, questions rose in my mind. How did someone get picked to jury art for the World's Fair? It seemed to me that you would have to know something about art in a given region. I did some digging of my own and learned this from researcher David J. Cope in Pennsylvania.
"At 1939 World's Fair there was an American Art Today exhibit with a catalogue. Copyright May, 1939. The United States was divided into regions. Each region was represented with "painting, sculpture, and graphic art." Region 2 included the states of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, and a sub-class which included Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and Arkansas. The four Graphic Arts representatives from Missouri were Ernest Hubert Deines, Fred Geary, John de Martelly, and Rossiter Howard, Chairman. There were 22 other people in Graphic Arts in Region 2. There was a Preview committee on which Thomas Benton served. The Preview committee met at the Kansas City Art Institute. Both Deines and Geary exhibited one piece at the World's Fair. Deines' entry was a wood engraving entitled "Pippins Comes Down," No. 888. It looks like an apple orchard. Geary's entry was a linoleum print entitled "On The River," No. 925. It looks like a steamboat on the Missouri or Mississippi River." Mr. Cope, who owns that same catalogue, confirmed that the image above was the same linoleum print of Geary shown in the catalogue.
"So glad I could help you. Here is the bibliographic information - this was a hardbound catalogue of the exhibit at the fair, black and white pictures only: "American Art Today" was published by National Art Society, Blanchard Press, New York, May 1939."
(email to Mr. Marxhausen, Friday, January 22nd, 2010)
Thanks to Paul M Van Dort for his help also.
Kansas wood engraver Ernest Deines wrote a paper on Geary, in the Public Library collection file. In his remembrance he made this curious observation: "In a print entitled "The Chickens," a side-glance was given to Agnes Miller Parker's rhythmic style - an English woman's smoothly designed handling." With more digging, I wondered how Geary might have seen the wood engravings of Ms. Parker who hailed from Scotland?
The Challenge by Agnes Miller Parker, wood engraving print
I wondered, what if Geary's interest in xylography was not born out of isolation? This blog will hold findings along this line on thinking. I welcome your insights and comments.