A remarkable large scale exhibited fine art painting by Frederic Victor Poole titled “Kwan Yen,” the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Painted in a bold and intricate Art Deco orientalist manner this inspired and inventive work was exhibited at the 1933-1934 Chicago World’s Fair in an all-Illinois Society of Fine Arts show at the Stevens Hotel with a 1933 sales price of $2000.00.
Encased in original gilded and carved frame with polychrome painted border and corner accents. In Buddhist doctrine Kwan Yen is the goddess of mercy, her name means “she who harkens to the cries of the world”, she is unwilling to enter Nirvana because of her awareness of worldly suffering.
In researching this painting we were unable to find another example by this artist as a comparable. The Chicago World’s Fair association and the evolved decorative components of this work and original carved and gilded frame are dizzying. A very large and important work, the color palette, stylized Art Deco Orientalist aesthetic with lotus flowers, and the forlorn goddess of mercy make this a work for the ages.
Frederic Poole (1865-1936), was born in England and moved to the United States in 1913 where he became a professor at the Art Institute of Chicago. On July 4, 1936, at the age of 71, Poole died from heart failure while in Door County. At the time of his death Poole was well known and respected as an artist both in the United States and in England. In 1937 the Chicago Art Institute honored him with a memorial retrospective exhibit.