Gertrude Abercrombie (American, 1909-1977) "Owl with Carnation" Oil Painting. Surrealistic painting depicts a solitary owl with carnation in beak perched on a window sill gazing at a bleak - spartan interior with only a pitcher of carnations and teacup on a table. Delicate precise brushwork by a highly skilled artist. Oil on masonite in good condition. Measures 5" high, 7" wide framed in a AMS silvered frame. Signed Abercrombie '54. Fresh from an estate,(family members were friends of the artist).
Gertrude Abercrombie was an American painter based in Chicago her surrealistic images were equally idiosyncratic. Sparse - and as she suggested, "a little strange", her paintings include objects that function as personal symbols. Called "the queen of the bohemian artists," Abercrombie was involved in the Chicago jazz scene and friends with musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Sarah Vaughan, whose music inspired her own creative work. Gertrude studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and was a close friend of fellow figurative and "Magical Realism" movement artist Julia Thecla. She painted many variations of her favored subjects: sparsely furnished interiors, barren landscapes, self-portraits, and still-lifes. Many compositions feature a lone woman in a flowing gown, often depicted with attributes of sorcery: an owl, a black cat, a crystal ball, or a broomstick. These works were often self-portraits, as she stated in an interview with Studs Terkel shortly before her death: "it is always myself that I paint". Within Abercrombie's avant garde social circle she was the inspiration for the song "Gertrude's Bounce" by Richie Powell, who claimed that she walked "just like the way the rhythm sounds in the Introduction". Abercrombie's mature works are painted in a precise, controlled style. She took little interest in other artists' work, although she admired Magritte. Largely self-taught, she did not regard her lack of extensive formal training as a hindrance. She said of her work: "I am not interested in complicated things nor in the commonplace. I like to paint simple things that are a little strange. My work comes directly from my inner consciousness and it must come easily. It is a process of selection and reduction".