Friday, September 23, 2011

Bessie Pease Gutmann ~ un artiste de bebes!

Honolulu Academy of Arts

Tomorrow morning, very early, I will be flying over to Oahu to spend four days with my husband. It is a working mini vacay for him as he has to attend classes on Monday and Tuesday. While he is expanding his knowledge on new 911 systems, I plan on hitting historical spots, the Honolulu Academy of Art and any thrift or consignment stores I come across.  My hope is to find something exciting to share with you.  Since time is a factor, I am keeping my blog posting simple this week with lots of amazing photos. Prepare yourself to grin from ear to ear.

If you ever decide to collect vintage prints, consider Bessie Pease Gutmann.

Bessie Pease Gutmann born April 8, 1875
I came to know Gutmann prints through my mother's collection.  She has focused mostly on the baby and cherub prints and has them hanging throughout her home. You might say my mother has a soft spot for Gutmann's ability to capture the innocence and beauty of a young child in a magical and dream-like way.  Bessie Pease Gutmann's paintings of small children, infants and angelic creatures were only a small part of her career. After attending numerous art institutes, Bessie Pease became an independent commercial artist drawing portraits and newspaper advertisements.

Alice in Wonderland

She was eventually hired in 1903 by Gutmann and Gutmann, a publishing firm, which specialized in fine art prints. You guessed it! Bessie married one of the Gutmann brothers in 1906, Hullmuth Gutmann ~ what a name. At Gutmann and Gutmann, she illustrated A Child's Garden by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1905 and several years later, Lewis Carroll's, Alice in Wonderland. During her career, Bessie's paintings graced the cover of 22 magazines. Her crowning glory, however, was her numerous paintings of tiny infants and cherubs, capturing their simplest gestures in the most delightful way. Her 3 children from her marriage to Hullmuth, were her models.  I love that.  Imagine her sketching a sleeping son as he snuggles angelically in a soft blue blanket.  Better than a Polaroid! Although her tender and realistic paintings were quite popular in the 1920's, her stardom faded after WWll.

The Butterfly                                                                                                                                                                                               

My mother bought this Gutmann print at an antique fair for $15!
On Dreamlands Border

On Dreamland's Border and The Butterfly (my favorite print) hang in my bathroom


Her prints make you all warm and fuzzy inside, don't they?

To Love and Cherish ~ she did seem to focus on the family

Sunbeam Girl
A Little Bit of Heaven
Tommy Eats His Porridge
A mother's love
Good morning!
The past 20 years has found a resurgence of Bessie Pease Gutmann's work.  You can find her paintings printed on plates, tins, note cards and posters.  Bessie Pease Gutmann died in 1960 at the age of 84 but her paintings of children will remain immortal.

Some years ago, my mother told me Bessie Pease Gutmann was Clark Gables mother. Then recently, I discovered that my mother was incorrect with that bit of information. But, I decided not to tell her.  She can continue to believe this as she finds something charming about this story. Can I tell you a secret? I am pleased that one of those darling babies was not Clark Gable.  Can you imagine Tommy Eats His Porridge with those large flapping ears?  

Do you own any Bessie Pease Gutmann prints or have a favorite?

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