Perched upon a craggy rock that juts out of the crashing waves, this alluring mermaid by C.D. Williams is a work of intense sensuality showcasing the perfect features of the American dream girl, as her long blonde hair blows in the ocean air while she keeps an eye on the horizon, seeking ships to lure them in.
An established artist and illustrator who built a prolific and successful lifelong career out of his craft, C.D. Williams had no formal art training who began his career as an illustrator at the age of eighteen for Chicago newspapers after working his way up from errand boy. Williams painted five covers for The Saturday Evening Post and was a frequent contributor there with interior narrative illustrations and advertisements for this storied title. Williams became a founding member of the Society of Illustrators of New York and had illustrations appearing in Collier’s, American, and The Ladies Home Journal. He later found work in the pulps, painting covers for The Cavalier, Blue Book, The Argosy, All-Story, All-Story Weekly, and All-Story Love as well as many others.
Handwritten text on the back indicates that this was displayed at the New York’s World Fair in 1939 and was most likely displayed in conjunction with Salvador Dalí’s exhibition “Dream of Venus”, a surrealist dream world that included, among many other delights, two pools with topless mermaids and sirens swimming about.
This painting was purchased from the Illustration House in the early 1990s and this exhibited artwork is rumored to have been modeled by Constance Bennett and for a time hung in the bedroom of her lover Phillip Wrigley.