Trompe L'Oeil Mysteries in February Fine and Decorative Art
As Cowan's is based in Cincinnati, we are familiar with a few artist's whose trompe l'oeil work has gotten attention on a national stage: Cincinnati artist Charles Meurer and De Scott Evans, another Ohio artist.
In the upcoming Fine and Decorative Arts auction on February 20th at Cowan's, we'll be offering a few Tromps (as we call them for short), that are a mystery.
The first is an example very similar to the work of De Scott Evans (1847-1898) by a very obscure artist who we've discovered, by way of the initials, as having been executed by C.L. Flummer, a Chicago artist for whom we have virtually no biographical information. The subject is "Free Sample, Take One", a type repeated by Evans, depicting peanuts or almonds behind broken glass. Flummer's is well executed as well, one might argue, as Evans' examples, even depicting the grain of the wood surface.
Another trompe is completely unnatributed, depicting playing cards and currency. It's also well executed, but without any signature. A label on the reverse side is telling, however- it was exhibited at the U.S. Playing Card Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio. Most people don't realize that Cincinnati is home to the U.S. Playing Card company, and several playing card companies like it. It's the largest card producer in the world, and provided plenty of subject matter for trompe l'oeil artists, who often chose cards as their subject.
Two unusual paintings that certainly merit further research!