Tuesday, January 17, 2012

John Gerdes faux marquetry tray


John Gerdes was a folk artist from Maitland, Fla., who combined electronics and precise painting to make distinctive work. The Smithsonian American Art Museum collection includes a Gerdes painting, and the Mennello Museum of American Art owns several Gerdeses. Michael Mennello commented in the Gerdes obituary published in the Orlando Sentinel 11 years ago this month that Gerdes "will go down in history as one of the major 20th century artists." I visited Mr. Gerdes in the 1990s and bought this trompe l'oeil tray. He painted it in 1936 while living in Cleveland. At the time Mr. Gerdes was in his early 20s. He died Jan. 3, 2001 at age 87.

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