An Orientalist Avant-garde Mask

Artist:Hannes Bok
Medium:Hand-painted Paper Mache Decorative Mask
Dimensions:14" x 13 1/2"
Original Use:Fine art
Above: Full view of hand crafted decorative mask
Above: Estate stamp on back of mask
Above: Detail

An inspired and outrageous, entirely hand painted and created paper-mache decorative mask by Hannes Bok in exuberant, outlandish art deco Egyptian - Orientalist style. One of our favorite illustrators, Bok was born Wayne Woodard and grew up in Duluth, Minnesota. As an adult, the artist carved out a meager living as an illustrator and "part time astrologer." What we love most about Bok is his steadfast idealism and refusal to conform to the whims and rigors of publishing trends. Not surprisingly Bok died penniless in New York City. As today's collectors and scholars unearth the lost history of the pulps the star of Hannes Bok burns brighter than at any time during his long and prolific career.

Above: Detail
Above: Back of mask view
Above: Detail

This was likely created as fine art by the talented and unusual Bok, who often put his own spin on what was considered the cutting edge of art and illustration. Other illustrators--most notably W.T. Benda--created masks for various avant-garde dance troops in New York City during the Art Deco jazz-age and most likely, Bok was inspired by Benda's work to try his own hand at mask making.

Highlights from the Golden Gallery


Boy on Animal in Surreal Landscape

An extraordinary and experimental early work by Hannes Bok, featuring a bizarre surreal landscape with a young boy riding a prehistoric creature. Hannes Bok was the pseudonym of Wayne Woodard, a self taught artist who was fascinated by the luminous quality of Maxfield Parrish's oil paintings.

Upon a visit from the impoverished teenage Bok, and impressed by the examples of Bok's work, Parrish gave Bok an expensive set of oil paints and brushes to help the teenager build on his obvious gifts.