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Cooper's Hawk, Torrey Pines

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Perham Nahl

Perham Nahl -Thirteenth labor of Hercules - Spencer Helfen Fine Art
Spencer Helfen sent a picture of this fabulous poster he is selling to his clientele this morning. Spencer, the owner of Spencer Helfen Fine Arts, is one of the nicest and most knowledgable dealers in the business.

While many of our peers are content to follow the safe route, Spencer's keen perception, knowledge of history and art and visual acuity has allowed him to find and promote powerful work before the rest of the crowd is generally aware of it.

He has done much to promote the work of women artists and I respect him a great deal.

I post images of this poster because it is wonderful and I have never seen it before. I reprint it here with his permission.

It was created by the great Perham Nahl (1869-1935) for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 in San Francisco. It was picked to be the official poster for the exposition.

I wrote him to commend him on his acquisition this morning and he wrote back and said that he was told by the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco that this particular poster is very rare.

It was created in 1913-14 and this particular work was exhibited in the show Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition,
de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, October 17, 2015 – January 10, 2016.

Perham Nahl was a wonderful Bay Area artist. I have had his prints before and mostly knew of him as Gene Kloss's mentor and teacher at U.C. Berkeley.

The following is Eden Hughes bio on the artist:

Etcher, painter, lithographer, illustrator. Born in San Francisco, CA on Jan. 11, 1869, the son of Hugo Wilhelm Arthur NahI. Perham first studied art with his father and uncle Charles, and later continued at the Mark Hopkins Institute (1899-1906). When the earthquake and fire destroyed most of San Francisco in 1906, he traveled to Europe to study in Paris and in Munich at the Heyman Academy. After returning to California in 1907, he taught at the CCAC for 20 years. In 1912 he was appointed assistant professor of drawing at UC Berkeley and by 1929 had gained a full professorship. A long stay in Mexico during 1923-24 generated much of his later subject matter. Oriental art was also a special interest; he conducted several seminars to Japan. One of his best-known works is the poster for the PPIE entitled Thirteenth Labor of Hercules. NahI died in an auto accident in Berkeley on April 9, 1935. A memorial exhibition of his works was held at UC a few months later. Exh: Calif. State Fair, 1884; San Francisco Art Association, 1890s; Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909 (bronze medal); PPIE, 1915 (silver medal for oils and monotypes, 1st prize for poster); Bohemian Club, 1922; Calif. Society of Etchers, 1926 (prize); U C, 1936 (memorial); Crocker Museum (Sacramento), 1989 (solo). In: CPLH; De Young Museum; Oakland Museum; Bohemian Club; UC Berkeley Museum; Crocker Museum; CHS. lnvw; Charles Christian Nahi, Artist of the Gold Rush; Ber; AAA 1919-33; Fifteen and Fifty; CAR; Antiques West, May 1989; NY Times, 4-9-1935 and Art Digest, 5-15-1935 (obits).

1 comment:

Margaret H. said...

Gorgeous work. I have never seen it before either. Thanks for posting it.