Oil on canvas, 50" by 31", unframed, signed on the spine of the book at lower center in true trompe l'oeil style and dated there 1901. This is a beautifully painted work by an historical painter of late 19th century California, ALBERT JENKS (1830-1901). It is already impressive as is, but, with a gold frame around it, I can envision this on the wall of a law office or museum. Jenks was born in upstate New York, and kept moving west throughout his life; to Illinois by 1836, where, according to the Hughes biography, he studied "medicine and engaged in banking and mercantile businesses". He then served in the Civil War and thereafter became known as Lt. Colonel Jenks. In Chicago after the war he studied art. Around that time he was commissioned by the state of Illinois to paint a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Around this time he spent a decade in Detroit, from which city he moved on to San Francisco in 1875. After becoming established there, in about another decade he moved south to Los Angeles, where he spent the final 15 years of his life. Jenks is mentioned in many reference works, including the New York Historical Society Dictionary of artists, Who Was Who in American Art, Dawdy's Artists of the American West, and William Gerdts' Art Across America. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art holds a pair of portraits by the artist. His work seems to be rather scarce. This painting is generally in very good condition; it is a bit dusty and could benefit from a light cleaning. There are two very small repaired punctures as the reverse patches indicate. The painting would appeal to a collector of American art of the nineteenth century, or even more specifically a collector of trompe l'oeil painting in the style of Harnett and others of that school.
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