Brown & Bigelow Beauty by Frank H. Desch
This fabulous Edwardian maiden pastel illustration by the American illustrator Frank Desch was published by the Brown & Bigelow Calendar Company of Saint Paul Minnesota under the title “Marie”. The image showcases a delightfully costumed maiden with a beauty mark on her left cheek, seductively looking over her shoulder. Her dark eyes engage the viewer and her snappy black costume and Mardi Gras mask delight. Pastel is signed lower left and matted and framed under glass, three small published versions of the artwork are included in the sale.
This illustration comes from the collection of esteemed illustration art collector Norman Platnick.
About the artist: Frank H. Desch
Frank H. Desch was born in Philadelphia and received his early training under William Merritt Chase at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts beginning in 1906. Upon graduating in 1909, he continued his education under Charles Hawthorne at his Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and in 1914, Desch joined Hawthorne and several other painters in establishing the Provincetown Art Association with the aim of collecting and exhibiting the work of local artists. Desch showed annually with the association until his death in 1934.
In addition to the PAA, Desch was a member of the Salmagundi Club and the Allied Artists of America, and took part in exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy, the Corcoran Gallery and the Art Institute of Chicago. He was also an accomplished illustrator, completing work for several magazines and books, including When Kings Go Forth to Battle by William Wallace Whitelock (1907) and The Man in the Tower by Rupert S. Holland (1909). His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio and the Salmagundi Museum of American Art in New York.
The Legacy of Norman Platnick
In his New York Times obituary, Norman Platnick’s son Will said that his father had three passions in life, his wife Nancy, spiders, and collecting.
Few individuals have the chance to leave a mark like Norm’s in even one field, let alone two. But Norm managed to be both a celebrated scientist, and one of the most influential lay historians of illustration art.
Under his imprint Enchantment Ink, Norm researched, wrote, and published collectors guides to artists like Rolf Armstrong and Earl Christy. We at Grapefruit Moon Gallery rely on these books in our work, and they are now all freely available as PDFs through the Enchantment Ink website.
Norm’s expertise was a gift, his friendship was a treasure, and his legacy is immeasurable. He is missed.