Steamboat Illustrations, Page 8
Model for ghostly Steamboat Ouachita illustration, below.
I just received a large print of Robert Rucker's "Ghostly Steamboat" . . . attached oval vignette version showcasing the boat and a photo that Jim Hale found on the Murphy site of the "Little Ouachita" after she was abandoned to the elements above Mobile around 1909 with her stacks leaning sadly from neglect.
Photo Courtesy of Murphy Library at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse Steamboat Collection Photographs.
From Jim Hale's message:
THE BOAT IS THE "LITTLE OUACHITA" BUILT AT HOWARD'S IN 1899 TO RUN ON THE UPPER OUACHITA IN LOUISIANA TO BRING COTTON DOWN TO MONROE TOO BE THEN SHIPPED ON THE "AMERICA" TO NEW ORLEANS. CAPTAIN COOLEY HAD BUILT THE "AMERICA" IN 1898 AND THEN HAD THE "LITTLE OUACHITA" BUILT THE NEXT YEAR. HE SOLD THE "LITTLE OUACHITA" IN 1906 TO THE ALABAMA RIVER PACKET CO.
THE PILOT HOUSE WAS RAISED AND THE NARROW TEXAS BUILT IN FRONT OF AND BEHIND IT AFTER IT GOT TO MOBILE. THE "LITTLE OUACHITA" WAS LAID UP IN 1909 OR SO ABOVE MOBILE WHERE THE PICTURE THE MURPHY LIBRARY WAS TAKEN. THE BOAT LOOKED A LOT BETTER BEFORE THE TEXAS WAS ADDED.
THIS PAINTING OF HER BY RUCKER, HAS TO BE THE MOST GHOSTLY STEAMBOAT PAINTING EVER. MAYBE SHE STILL HAUNTS THE BAYOUS ABOVE MOBILE EVEN TO THIS DAY.
Robert Rucker who painted the LITTLE OUACHITA bayou picture also painted this charming winter scene for sale. gilleysgallery.com
"Call Gilley's at 225 922-9225 for a price quote."
Rucker's story is touching, he contracted polio as a teenager but was able to thrive as an artist.
1932 - 2001
Robert Rucker was a native of New Orleans, and he opened his own gallery in the French Quarter at the age of sixteen. Immediately, Rucker found himself surrounded by fine artists of the New Orleans area, like Knute Heldner and Clarence Millet, two of his earliest influences. At the age of seventeen, he developed polio, an event that led him to art.
Because of his illness, the Louisiana Department of Education funded his schooling at the John McCrady School of Fine Arts in New Orleans. Rucker studied under McCrady for the next five years, developing a style that would later become synonymous with New Orleans and the surrounding countryside of the Mississippi Delta.
Rucker's most famous subject is perhaps the steamboat. His love of them came from his family, having two grandfathers who were steamboat captains. He produced many variations on the theme during his career. He is also well known for various bayou scenes and the south Louisiana countryside, themes that he eventually began to render in an impressionistic style and often with pastel tones during the late 1970's and early 1980's.
Rucker held exhibits in Baton Rouge and New Orleans as well as Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis and Cleveland. In addition to being an art teacher at his own gallery, he was a textile designer, an art teacher for the City of New Orleans and a medical artist for Tulane Medical School. Robert Rucker died of a heart attack in 2001.
The steamboat pushing barges is the same one that Robert Rucker painted a "haunted" sternwheeler of and we paired up with a photo from the La Crosse collection.
I scanned this from a postcard in my collection that was dated 25 December 1906 on the front, no post mark so it must've been enclosed in an envelope when it was sent.
Information on verso:
Raphael Tuck & Sons' postcard Series No. 23709 "In the Land of Cotton." ART PUBLISHERS TO THEIR MAJESTIES THE KING AND QUEEN.
Jim Hale's notes on the boat on the postcard from Illustrations 11:
Attached scan of a print of an impressionistic Robert Rucker New Orleans riverscape with the QUEEN CITY and other steamboats.
The smoke from the stacks and the French Market possess a watercolor translucence to them while the steamboats have a more opaque appearance and the St. Louis Cathedral in has a pastel quality to it.
Robert Rucker Steamboat DAN WILEY in Bayou
Haven't found an actual steamboat named DAN WILEY yet . . . maybe Rucker named it after a friend of his. This looks like the boat is traversing a bayou. One of Rucker's most charming paintings. The color enhancement from what was a predominantly warm tone is a result of a Photoshop protocol.
This image is from an eBay auction from a while ago. The "steamboat alarm clock" itself was O.K. but the best thing was the graphic on the box. You will recognize the boat as being the same one in the monochromatic image that I sent you scanned from a playing card, the designer of which obviously lifted the graphic from this box. As you can see it's a good deal more interesting in full color. The starting price on the clock was extravagant so I did not bid on it but am glad they included some images of this graphic in the listing.
Most likely from the 1852 Pittsburgh city directory. Steamboats built to order, fitted and furnished complete, ready for business"
A couple of good sized Lions Club pins from Missouri Pin Traders: 1.80" X 3.00" MAYFLOWER (1999) 2.25 X 3.00 NATCHEZ
Stan Lynde, the creator of one of my favorite comic strips passed away last week. Attached detail is from the cover of a collection of Rick O'Shay dailies from 1963-64. The beautifully drawn steamboat HUSHPUPPY is mysteriously grounded in a clump of sagebrush Out West. Obituary below is abridged from Stan's obituary from the L.A. Times:
Times Staff and Wire Reports
August 12, 2013, 8:34 p.m.
Stan Lynde who created the syndicated Western strip "Rick O'Shay," which ran for 20 years in major newspapers and reached about 15 million readers, died Tuesday August 6th, 2013 in Helena, Montana He was 81.
Inspired by the cowboys of his youth, Lynde developed his "Rick O'Shay" comic strip, which was first syndicated in 1958. The characters in the comic strip were composites "of the old-time cowboys and the people I knew growing up," Lynde once said.
He grew up on a cattle and sheep ranch near Lodge Grass, Mont., on the Crow Indian Reservation. Lynde populated his imaginary western town with such figures as lawman Rick O'Shay, gunslinger Hipshot Percussion and a kid named Quyat Burp.
In 1962, Lynde returned to Montana after "Rick O'Shay" was established and appearing in about 100 papers, including The Times. He set up a basement in his Billings home and bought a 160-acre ranch, branding his cattle with "RIK" in honor of his cartoon hero.
He was born Myron Stanford Lynde on Sept. 23, 1931, in Billings and grew up listening to his parents read him the Sunday comics. He later recalled wanting to be a cartoonist since age 5 or 6.
"I've been able to do the work I love for an appreciative audience," Lynde said in December. "I love this state. ... If my tombstone said something about Montana, I'd be really happy. I've never met any state with people who have such character."
I created this collage years ago for the website that Marie-Anne Durand-Chapuis and put together to showcase our English translation of the French critic Henry Gauthier-Villars 1884 appreciation of Mark Twain:
The following elements were combined:
1880's vintage carte de visite of Mark Twain
One of his original autographs
Two vignettes by illustrator True Williams:
- A steamboat to which I added the name BIG MISSOURI (mentioned in "Tom Sawyer") on the paddlebox
- A portfolio, pen, inkwell etc. from Mark Twain's SKETCHES NEW & OLD by Mark Twain 1876.
In that same year Williams illustrated the 1st edition of TOM SAWYER. The seated boy watching the river came from the 1st edition of Twain's LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI, 1883.
Promotional solid oak "walking stick" put out by Southern Comfort probably about 20 years ago. It is topped off with a heavy metal knob bearing a bas relief of a sidewheel steamboat which appeared in an oval print of a painting that was part of a large Southern Comfort mirror that is also on this site.
The diameter of the heavy knob of the walking stick is 1.60 inches, the height of the knob 1.70 inches. The overall length of the walking stick is 34 inches, the oak portion tapers from 1 inch beginning just below the knob to .60 inches at the tip.
In the early '90's I bought this large painted illustration (by an artist whose name I can't recall), from a dealer in New York City who shipped it to the warehouse of the animation studio I was working for.
The dealer packed it in a cardboard box instead of in a wooden crate and I suspected that someone in the warehouse out here deliberately put a big hole through the box which penetrated the canvas, damaging it significantly. The dealer offered to have the painting repaired but I opted to send it back for a full refund instead.
The A-frame brace from which the swinging stage is suspended in the front of the steamboat looks anachronistic to the era in which the white folks on the Lower Mississippi cotton plantation are dressed in antebellum costumes. The style of the painting may have been influenced by Dean Cornwell but this picture has the appearance of a relatively quickly done oil sketch while Cornwell's illustrations are usually much more finished. See our Dean Cornwell collection, click here.
With the exception of images credited to certain institutions,
most of the images on this page are from a private collection.
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