16 Feb Original Faulkner Watercolor – Hollywood Los Angeles
Original Faulkner watercolor circa 1954 or early 1955 “Hollywood Los Angeles”
According to John S. Hockensmith:
“This is perhaps the very best of Faulkner’s early watercolor painting I have ever seen and I base this commentary on hundreds of Henry’s early works that we framed during ‘78-’81 period. We had boxes of them at our frame shop The Frame House of Georgetown and most all were creatively superb.”
Hollywood Los Angeles, for which this provenance is being provided, is most unique with paper size at 20” x 13” and frame size 25” x 18”. It is larger than most of Faulkner’s early work and painted on superb watercolor paper. In this building-scape street composition, Faulkner has cleverly worked his name into the building signage and labeled one of the taller buildings the “Hollywood Citizen” which was the newspaper of that era. Young Faulkner misspelled Hollywood Citizen (sic) Citizin. On page 39 In the book Henry Lawrence Faulkner: The Gift of Color there is a very similar watercolor dated 1954. Henry left Los Angeles in the fall of 1955.
An interesting aspect of the Hollywood Los Angeles watercolor is that its creation predates Faulkner’s first gallery sales by five years. Yet, whoever was the original owner had it framed in the most expensive framing possible. It was framed in a silk mat with a gold liner and secured in a thin unmitered brass frame with a wooden stretcher frame to ensure its flatness. This was done in the mid-’50s at Art Services, 821 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, California, 653-9033. This exquisite framing says that the original owner truly appreciated Faulkner’s talent.
John S. Hockensmith states that this Faulkner watercolor painting is from Henry Faulkner’s early career when he and Lois, his sister, were living in Los Angeles during the mid-1950s. Hockensmith relies on information gathered for the 2018 award-winning coffee table book, Henry Lawrence Faulkner: The Gift of Color, and references from The Outrageous Life of Henry Faulkner by Charles House. Hockensmith says that based on the chronological evolution of Faulkner’s painting style, color palette, and compositional construction, this watercolor is from the 1953-1955 timeframe when Faulkner was on scholarship at the Otis Art Institute. The Otis Art Institute had great faculty, like the renowned Millard Sheets, Margaret Montgomery Barlow, and her husband, Jarvis Walter Barlow who all taught the style of painting that became known as The California School of Art in the mid-twentieth century. In later years The Otis Art Institute became the Los Angeles Art Institute.
Faulkner’s art was exploratory in the mid-to-late ’50s. In his early days, his skillset was constantly evolving. There was no medium in the visual arts that Faulkner could not master, and this was a highly creative period of his artistic pursuit. This early work holds an important place and value in the Faulkner legacy.
Henry Lawrence Faulkner’s artistic career was a carousel of expressing himself in visual, writing, and poetic performance art techniques. He was an international artist, active from Italy to California. Faulkner’s life was tragically cut short at age 55 in a car accident near his home on Third Street in Lexington, Kentucky, on December the 5th, 1981. For more information on The Faulkner art legacy, see the book Henry Lawrence Faulkner: The Gift of Color or call Fine Art Editions Gallery and Press 502-863-2299.