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ARTHUR BURDETT FROST (American, 1851-1929)
Ink Illustration for Harper's Monthly, 1887
ARTHUR BURDETT FROST (American, 1851-1929) "HEROIC TREATMENT" signed A. B. Frost, l.l.; pen and ink drawing; 6 x 8 inches
Exhibited: The Brooklyn Museum, 1972
Original Ink Illustration for Harper's New Monthly Magazine, August 1887, pg. 482
As mentioned in the below biography, his work was so incredibly realistic and detailed, I thought it might have been a high quality print. Although this artwork was evaluated in 1968 and also exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum, I had to prove it’s originality to myself. Hence, I remove the artwork from the period frame to examine it. It was indeed ink and not a print as under magnifier can see the ink variations and even clumping. Moreover, I was glad I did remove and examine as discovered on the back was another partial ink drawing, of the same subject but smaller version. He completed only the lady, and a pencil draft of the man and bed. The decided to turn the paper over and complete a larger rendition of this illustration which was eventually published in the August 1887 edition of Harpers Monthly. Also, noted on both ink drawings was several “ink scratches” to the right where Frost apparently continued to test his fountain pen for proper ink flow.
Frost is a Highly Listed Artist.
Sales History: Sold "Fall Woodcock SHooting" at Sotheby's in March 1989 for $85,300.
Size: 6 x 9"
A famous illustrator and sporting artist, Arthur B. Frost is perhaps best known for his illustrations for the Uncle Remus tales by Joel Chandler Harris, as well as for naturalistic hunting and shooting prints. Many consider him to be the best illustrator of rural America.
An ardent sportsman himself, many of Frosts favorite subjects were hunting, fishing, and golfing. Often his golfing subjects tended towards humor. His scenes capture the drama of the sport - a hunter poised to shoot and a dog on point - with elements often integrated into a richly detailed woodland or marsh setting.
Frost chronicled aspects of America's cultural life for over five decades. From the late 19th to the early 20th centuries, his art appeared in the many books and publications of the time, including Harper's Weekly, Scribner's, and Life magazines.
Frost's illustrations always evoked the essence of a setting and its mood, whether depicting the hilarious escapades of the family cat or farm dog, or the serene pastoral lifestyle of the native northeast. His sound draftsmanship was combined with an intimate knowledge of nature. Frosts details in his pictures were very specific, as though drawn on the spot, and done in a very convincing manner. In the preface and dedication by Harris of his book Uncle Remus, Harris wrote of Frost "you have conveyed into their quaint antics the illumination of your own inimitable humor, which is as true to our sun and soil as it is to the spirit and essence of the matter. The book was mine, but now you have made it yours, both sap and pith" Other well known examples of Frosts illustrations are Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit from The Tar Baby.
A.B. Frost was born in Philadelphia in 1851 and spent his most prolific years in New Jersey. Considered one of the great illustrators of the “Golden Age of American Illustration, he illustrated more than ninety books and produced thousands of illustrations for Harper’s Weekly, Scribner’s and Life magazines. Frost’s illustrative work chronicles the mood and details of the daily life of farmers, barnyards and motifs of pastoral New England.
By 1876 he was on Harper’s staff working on many books including Tom Sawyer, Uncle Remus, and Mr. Dooley. He also illustrated Teddy Roosevelt’s sporting books.
In 1891 Frost began studying with William Merritt. He spent time in the art colony of Rockport, Massachusetts and the Shinnecock Hills Summer School of Art, founded by Mr. Chase outside of Southampton, New York. In 1906 he and his wife and two sons departed for Europe to live in and paint in France while his son Jack was studying at the Academie Julian.
Frost’s two sons (Arthur G. and John Frost) were also artists until their untimely deaths from tuberculosis. Frost’s wife also painted and worked with him at Harper’s. The poet, Robert Frost was a distant cousin.