Sunday, 29 April 2012

M Duse - Graphic Artist

It started with a postcard that I found in a box of bits at a local bric a brac shop - Striking graphics and an interesting subject and signed M Duse ?? What and Who

There is something vaguely Stalinist about this design, it reminds me of the Russian poster with "workers" tending the fields with new tractors, waving big red flags with hammers and sickles emblazoned across them. You can almost here the Shostakovich being play at the opening of the conference.

Apparently the "Internationale Socialista" was established in 1951 as a worldwide organization of democratic socialist, social democratic and labour political parties. Whose first president was the British politician and General Secretary of the Labour Party; Morgan Phillips (1902-1963). This graphic postcard advertises it's second annual Conference in Milano.

But who was the artist ? It is signed M Duse in the top right corner - but no other clues.

Not much to find - after a bit of googling I was able to find other graphic works by this artist but no biographical details, other than that he was an Italian. Pictures, posters and advertisment dating from the late 1930's through the 1940's to the early 1950's. Like so many commercial artist their only legacy is the work they created - unless a relative happens to be reading this, then I doubt we will ever know more !!

Toothpaste adverts. 

He created a series of poster in the early 1940's during Italy's Mussolini period. These too have a strong graphic quality similar to my Socialist postcard. Designs inspired by both ends of the political spectrum. 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Bruges Mystery - continues

.......... and the name on the card ??

.......................... is Maisie Waite

This name does fit with the initials M.H.W, so perhaps we have an artist. After some googling and art index reading, I have a candidate Margaret Hebe Waite (1907-1986), also known as Maisie. An artist recorded as working in watercolour and with several recorded sales at auction of studies of South African landscapes. 

watercolour signed "Maisie Waite"
available at

Is this our Maisie - perhaps the woodcut is an early student experiment and the above watercolour a later work ?

I was able to find a reference to a work by her being included in an exhibition titled "Edward Wilkins Waite, RBA 1854-1924" a loan exhibition" at the Guildford House Gallery, Guildford, Surrey in 1986. Exhibit No128 was by Margaret (Maisie) Hebe Waite and she was the daughter of Harold Waite and was born in Kent. She studied art at the Sidney Cooper School of Art in Canterbury, Kent before going on the study in Paris. Later in life she moved to South Africa to teach art at the Kingsmead School in Johannesberg.

Perhaps, we do have the correct artist - as oddly enough I bought this picture 3 miles up the road from Guildford and near to Abinger.

I am not sure on the relationships between Edward, Harold and Maisie, but I would suggest three generations. Edward exhibited c1880-1920 and Harold c1893-1939, Edward lived in Abinger and Guildford and Harold lived in Canterbury, so it is quite possible for my Christmas card to have been sent by Maisie to friends in Guildford - perhaps wishful thinking but a nice story.

As a last thought, I wonder how young she was when she created this image - youthful endeavours to create your own Christmas greetings cards or after later studies, perhaps whilst in Paris. It does have a European look.

Internet references;

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Cataroghe Nr Bruges - Linocut Mystery

I have had this little woodcut or linocut print sitting in stock for a couple of years. It was very cheap, so I bought it even though the condition was poor. Print on to the finest of tissue papers and laid down on folded card.

It is signed in pencil with the initials M.H.W or possibly M.M.W and titled something like "Cataroghe, Nr Bruges" The folded card format is a Christmas card and bears a full signature, possibly the artist ?

The mysteries here, are; Where is Cataroghe (probably read incorrectly) and who was M.H.W. Amateur ? or better.

The composition of a tree lined road is familar to us all - remember Monet and especially the collaborations between Sir Frank Brangwyn and Urushibara, including some from the Ten Woodcut portfolio.

As I mentioned earlier, I do have a name to work with and I will continue my research complete the next posting. However, I would appreciate any advice as to attribution and location. Please leave comments.