DescriptionFROM THE ESTATE OF DR. EDMUND P. PILLSBURY
JOHN H. GRAZIER (American, b. 1946)
Woman Behind a Window, 1973
Pencil on paper
16 x 27-1/2 inches (40.6 x 69.9 cm)
Signed and dated lower center
One of the most unusual and haunting works of art from the estate of Ted Pillsbury is this large, meticulous pencil drawing by John Grazier, a reclusive artist who lives and works in the mountains of rural Pennsylvania. Over the last two decades he has shunned dealers, preferring to represent himself in all sales of his work. He researches profitable businesses and wealthy individuals, contacting them by phone and email, referencing his website and arranging private viewings for potential collectors.
Grazier was born in Long Beach, New York. His father, then owner of the Bellevue Inn, a small resort hotel in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania died when Grazier was three. The Bellevue Inn, demolished soon thereafter, is a ghost in the artist's dreams, which he has painted many times. As a small child, Grazier says he drew complex invented machines, but was not encouraged to be an artist and as he matured he had no inclination to do so. In 1965 at the age of 19, he was arrested for possession of five dollars worth of marijuana. The charges were dismissed on the condition that he attend college. The only school which would accept him was The Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. There, the enthusiastic encouragement of professors Frank Wright and William Woodward, well-known Washington artists, led him to pursue the vocation of fine artist. After a year at The Corcoran School of Art, he briefly attended The Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. Art school seemed a waste of time to him, as he rarely attended classes; he considers himself self-taught.
Grazier burst on the art scene early in his career, when as a 27-year old he was awarded his first one-man show at the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1973, the same year he produced this drawing. The exhibit consisted of finely rendered pencil drawings composed of thousands of tiny cross-hatched lines which describe his subjects. In a biography he submitted to the AskArt website, from which this catalogue note derives, he wrote of himself: "He is known for his paradoxical visual point of view and skewed perspective, considering himself a "paradoxical precisionist realist." His images are invented or drawn from memories or dreams, and consist primarily of interiors of rooms, portions of architectural facades of Victorian buildings, windows, looking both in and outside, rows of telephone booths or old Greyhound buses, cityscapes, and landscapes with ornate houses and fences. Everything he sees is oddly tilted or twisted, but so accurately rendered that the impossible perspective is quite believable."
Critical reception to Grazier's 1973 exhibition in Baltimore was enthusiastic and led to many other opportunities to exhibit. His work was acquired by The National Gallery of Art, The National Museum of American Art, and The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, and The Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas.
When and where Ted Pillsbury acquired this early work by John Grazier is unknown. It is possible that he encountered Grazier and/or his art during the year he was a David E. Finley Fellow at the National Gallery of Art in Washington (1970-1).
In apparently good condition, paper lightly discolored; not examined out of frame
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