The Passage

Artist:Mahlon Blaine
Date:1939
Medium:Goauche on Illustration Board
Dimensions:Sight Size 12" x 16" Framed 19 1/2" x 24"
Condition:Excellent
Original Use:Proposed Mural design for Paul MacAlister
Price:$3500.00
Above: Full view of goauche painting
Above: Frame profile & artist's initial lower left

The seventh of ten mural concepts by Mahlon Blaine for a New York City public space designed by noted industrial designer Paul Ritter MacAlister. This work is stylistically a departure, a cubist abstract half man/half woman nude that guards or invites one into a passageway in a color palette and modernist style suggestive of Picasso. Marked on verso design #7, this comes beautifully matted and framed from the estate of Paul Ritter MacAlister.

In the late 1930s, avant garde illustrator Mahlon Blaine, working under the pseudonym G.Christopher Hudson, created a series of illustrations which were intended to become murals for the studio or showroom of noted New York City interior designer Paul MacAlister. Offering a dark and pessimistically erotic commentary on the skyscraper landscape that was taking over Manhattan, it's unclear if Blaine and MacAlister believed these murals would ever be approved, or if the preliminary artworks were exclusively created as an oblique social satire. Blaine treated each individual painting in the series as its own completed stand alone artwork, with painstaking detail and inspired yet terrifying imagery. The series was Blaine's last commission for some time--the following year Blaine entered psychiatric care and dropped completely out of the public eye for the better part of a decade.

These are some of the most detailed and colorful works that have emerged by the artist to date. Though it's hard to imagine that even Blaine could foresee these images becoming part of the midtown Manhattan cityscape, the project gained at least some traction, and MacAlister created a 1:12 scale miniature room with his rough tempura sketches of the Blaine's proposed murals featured in diorama.

Above: Miniature room created by Paul MacAllister with rough sketches of Blaine mural works


 

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