A sophisticated, topical Orson Lowell pen & ink drawing featuring a Japanese soldier bowing before a mythically inspired goddess of death (named Lowell Mortise, a play on the Latin word for death) with the caption “So sorry – have made mistake.” The age of this piece, which dates to the first years of the 20th century, makes this by all accounts a commentary on the massive casualties ensued during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905, a war Japan won, but at a human price much too high. This is an epically conceived and emotionally powerful reflection of the inevitable end to war. Work is framed in a period ornate gold gesso antique frame and archivally matted behind glass.
Biography courtesy of ask art:
Illustrator Orson Lowell, the son of landscapist Milton H. Lowell, was born in 1871. He studied with the well-known anatomist, J. H. Vanderpoel, at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois. He moved from Chicago to New York in 1893. Known for the richness of his work in pen and ink, he drew, in 1898, fifty illustrations for The Choir Invisible. By 1907, he was employed at LIFE magazine, at that time a humor publication competing with Judge and Punch. He became known for his cartoons with a social message. Lowell was a contemporary of, and often discussed in relation to, the famous illustrator Charles Dana Gibson.
In 1899, F. Marion Crawford published Saracinesca, a two-volume work with one hundred pen and ink drawings and reproductions of paintings by Lowell featuring images of Italian fountains, ancient buildings and bridges.
Lowell illustrated magazines like LIFE, Judge, and The American Girl through the 1940s. Before the decline of illustrated novels in the early 1920s, Lowell created illustrations for works little-known today, Love in Old Clothes, 1896; C.N. and A.M. Williamson’s Lady Betty Across the Water, and the works of Charles de Kock.
Orson Byron Lowell died in 1956.
In 2002, Lowell’s work was represented in “Toast of the Town: Norman Rockwell and the Artists of New Rochelle,” an exhibition of twenty-five artists associated with that New York town, held at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts.