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Torch Singer
1930s Lithograph



From The Dauer Collection

Early-Mid 1930s 
Lithograph on Paper
18.5"x26" framed, 10"x16" unframed

Entitled Torch Singer, this early to mid 1930s lithograph on paper scene is signed and titled by the artist, Carl E. Pickhardt Jr., in the lower right. Excellent vintage condition. Framed in a contemporary decorative wood frame with distressed silver finish and black sides using 8-ply archival matting behind conservation clear glass.

About the Artist

Carl E. Pickhardt Jr. (1908-2004) was an American Social Realist painter and printmaker. He was born in Westwood, Massachusetts, in 1908 and grew up in West Newton, Massachusetts. He attended the Boston Latin School and Harvard University, graduating in 1931. He studied art under Harold K. Zimmerman, who also tutored Jack Levine and Hyman Bloom.

In his paintings and prints of the 1930s and 40s, Pickhardt often depicted working-class city dwellers such as newsboys, butchers, and washerwomen. In 1942 he was awarded the Shope Prize by the Society of American Etchers at the National Academy of Design. He exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the 1952 International Exhibition in Japan, the 1966 American Drawing Biennial in Norfolk, Virginia, the Berkshire Museum, and other venues in Boston and New York.

Pickhardt moved to New York City in 1940 but eventually moved back to Boston where he met his wife, Rosamond Forbes, daughter of Fogg Museum director Edward W. Forbes. He taught at the Worcester Museum School, Fitchburg Art Museum, and Sturbridge Art School.

Carl Pickhardt’s first “Free Form” paintings pioneered the use of the shaped canvas and called for a new pictorial structure without horizontal or vertical reference. Referring to his paintings as “sculptural,” or “abstractions in new shapes,” Pickhardt fractured the space of traditional painting and paralleled the research of modern mathematicians. Pickhardt first introduced his Free Form paintings in 1953, seven years before Frank Stella’s first experimentation with “deductive” pictorial structure, and nine years before Kenneth Noland’s lozenge shaped chevron paintings. Like Hans Arp before him, Pickhardt derived pictorial structure from the physical character of the picture support itself.

About the Collector

John A. Dauer (1933-2017) was a collector of many things, the vast majority of which convey stories of hard work, craftsmanship, industry, unsung histories, and associations with those he loved and respected. 

Born and raised on Staten Island, New York in 1933, John grew up among a close-knit family of entrepreneurial bakers, wood carvers, and leather merchants. He graduated in 1954 from Columbia College with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology.  He went on to work with his father John Sr., at the New York City-based John A. Dauer Leather Company.

During and after his undergraduate studies, John enrolled in painting, print making, and sculpture classes at Columbia, the New School for Social Research, and Greenwich House. Many of his teachers (including Margot Kempe and Peppino Mangravite) were recent European emigres and WPA artists, sympathetic to the themes of social realism and late modernism.

Although he made his living and supported his family as a leather salesman, John consistently maintained an interest in, and passion for, the creative work of artists and craft people throughout his life. The subjects and scale of his collecting varied over the years (from large 18th century cupboards to hand carved fishing lures), but let’s just say his houses and barns often resembled mini-Mercer Museums.

During his last 2 decades, John focused his collecting efforts on the work of print makers and painters who reminded him or were directly associated with those who influenced him during his New York youth. Images and the stories of sailors, stevedores, factory workers, craftsmen, pushcart vendors, musicians, stoop sitters, and artists abound.