Last year Marcus and I made plans to check out an annual neighborhood flea-market in Alamo Square. While wandering the rectangular perimeter of the park, where vendors laid out their wares we encountered a man with tables full of antique pictures and artwork. Many of the pieces displayed were not noteworthy, rather just random pieces of art-school projects, and the collected life’s work of the casual artist. However, filed in a box in plastic comic book sleeves were these pieces of very child-like art that had a naive quality to them. Mostly drawn with pencil on various sheets of scrap paper, some of the pieces were drawn on the blank side of letters, fliers, and even calendars which allowed us to date them (see below). The art dated back into the late 1920s and was attributed to a man named Albert Beauparlant.
The seller told us that the art had been purchased at an estate sale in Chicago. Evidently Beauparlant had a fascination with the military and had dies an old man with a house absolutely filled with military paraphernalia and souvenirs. Among his collection of guns, medals, and helmets were his childhood drawings, which show an amazing eye for detail, with a very crude technique. Needless to say, we both really thought they possessed a special quality to them and snapped up as many as we could. Even though we purchased a majority of the art, looking back I wish we would have purchased the collection as a whole. Since when did being broke hinder the serious art collector?
Anyway, this is my piece of the collection. Behold Beauparlant!
We can see what he wanted for Christmas.
And his dream business. Make sure to view this next image up close in Flickr. Notice the attention paid to every small detail. Yet it still possesses the technical skill of a child. See what I mean? He even wrote the lettering in the store window backwards!
Here we see the first of the military themes.
This is the back of the army officer picture. March 192_?
While the art looks like that of a 10-year old, this piece shows fairly complex algebraic equations. This could have been an older siblings scrap paper, however throughout this collection we see so many examples of his school work.
Judging from the sign, I think I’ll look from on this side.
That’s a nice box for only $7.50.
Phrenology chart on the back.
This is one of the best examples of his signature, which also dates this piece to 1929. Check out all the writing on the nose of the plane.
Look closely at the right-hand side of this drawing. It’s a scale showing the size of a large plane.
Makes you want to be a cop, eh?
The above piece was drawn on the back of a real estate solicitation letter from 1929. Evidently, while the Beauparlant family was living in Chicago they were being offered new development property on Lake Michigan.We can also see that his father’s first initial was “A.” This might indicate that Albert was a “Jr.”
In the next 4 close up images, notice the detail given to the diving apparatus. It looks almost fully functional, and probably was based on the technology of the time (or at least the technology shown to a child).
This is one of my favorite pieces in the collection. Make sure to read all the text.
The back offers us some parting words of wisdom. “Why turn aside a help that thousands of intelligent mothers have used to bring up fine children?”
More to come…