Monday, January 31, 2011

“His niece had found him lying dead”

“His niece had found him lying dead” from the short story “A Life for a Life,” written and illustrated by Howard Pyle (Scribner’s Magazine, January 1900).

Morbid, but lovely - like many of Pyle’s best pictures. The “modern” setting is somewhat unusual, but we see here such Pylean tropes as the partially-obscured-body and something I’ve only just coined as “the paroxysmal hand.”


kev ferrara said...

Yes yes! But what about the foreground placement of Chickenus Dramaticus?

(Another wunnerful Pyle find, btw.)


Ian Schoenherr said...

LOVE that chicken - and the bucket - and the black felt hat - and the clothes pole. All so simple and crazy.

Ian Schoenherr said...

And the polka-dots-to-cedar-shakes ratio. Etc., etc.

kev ferrara said...

Yeah, you're right.

Just now noticed those two pegs on the pole and that one little bit of broken window... Something unsettling in all the details... I guess its the conch shell thing... that idiosyncratic objects, closely observed, have evocative powers that we don't quite understand consciously. Wonderful strange indeed.

There is something about Pyle's sensibilities that prefigures the kind of quiet peculiarity of everyday things of both Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper.

I quite often wish I understood what Pyle was thinking in his compositions. He had such an original mind.