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Sunday, April 26, 2015

I Was Wrong: Holling Art Does “Just Turn Up”

One of the satisfying elements of writing the Holling blog is that mysteries present themselves and, often, they’re solved.  I received a letter this month asking about an 11 x 14” picture — originally rendered in ink and colored charcoal or pastels — in an old frame that was discarded in Florida.  The only identification was the imprint “Mountain View” and the publisher “Platt & Munk.” 


“Possibly,” the writer suggested, “it might be an unused scene from [Holling’s 1936] Book of Cowboys … because the art style is strikingly similar and fits the storyline.  Or, it might have been an original background mockup.”

 The resident expert in this case, Joan Hoffman of the Leslie, Mich., museum, came to the rescue.  She noted that the museum has a package of 12 illustrations about Children of Other Lands.”   The publisher’s name appears in the bottom left, she adds, but only on the envelope is it noted that the illustrations are by Holling C. Holling.

Also in the museum’s collection is a box of six Indian jigsaw puzzles and a box of six Cowboy puzzles.  Same identification of publisher and illustrator on the box.  If the mystery art is not from the puzzles or the book, perhaps this is an outtake — a piece Holling produced but was sold singly by P&M.  Joan Hoffman states, “The publisher was within its right [to publish the art], but profited more than the Hollings did…in these examples and their other work.”

So, art detectives, keep your eyes peeled!  Someday we may have a definitive catalogue raisonné of all the commercial art that Holling and his wife, Lucille, produced.
A comparison of the mystery art (right) with similar Holling
technique in rendering landscape and trees.