I need your help ID'ing an artist.
February 6, 2014 3:33 AM   Subscribe

On the day of my grandmother's funeral 21 years ago, my family discovered that, prior to her death, she had written a letter addressed to me on the back of a painting that hung in her house. As you can imagine, the painting (and the letter, which I have preserved) has enormous sentimental value for me - I often tell people that in the case of a fire, the only thing I'm carrying out of here is my painting. The painting is signed with the name "Julian", but the handwriting does not match any of the Julians in the artist directory books at the Library of Congress (oh yeah, I went to the LOC to research this issue). Here is a photo!

I'm writing because I have been trying over the last few years (off and on) to positively identify the artist. Museum inquiries have not proven fruitful. It would mean the world to me if I could identify this artist. All I ever knew about the painting was that it was done by an artist in Chicago in the 1950s or 1960s. Any ideas / suggestions / help would be most appreciated.
posted by nia22 to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Could it be Julian Ritter? Active in Chicago around that time period.
posted by amicamentis at 4:07 AM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Here are some of his portraits, if you'd like to compare styles. He also signs his work "Julian" on the front.
posted by amicamentis at 4:09 AM on February 6, 2014

Re: Julian Ritter.. this is how he seems to sign, a bit different than what you have.
posted by HuronBob at 4:12 AM on February 6, 2014

Response by poster: I investigated Ritter - it's not his signature. Since I have two "Julian" paintings at home, I'm convinced that this Julian used the same signature across all of his / her work. Thanks for the suggestion!!
posted by nia22 at 4:35 AM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are there any markings on the back? Could you include a picture of the back? How did you find out it's from Chicago?
posted by lharmon at 4:44 AM on February 6, 2014

Have you shown it to anyone at the Art Institute of Chicago? Have you checked out the DuSable Museum of African American History? The librarian there is named Beatrice Julian!
posted by mareli at 4:47 AM on February 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm guessing it's not Julien Binford based on the spelling difference?
posted by barnone at 5:34 AM on February 6, 2014

Can your post photos of the other Julian painting?
posted by barnone at 5:40 AM on February 6, 2014

I clicked on the image before reading your question fully and thought the signature was Julia rather than Julian, could that be possible?
posted by humph at 5:41 AM on February 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Since I have two "Julian" paintings at home

Sharing another example of the artist's work may help with identifying them.
posted by yohko at 7:06 AM on February 6, 2014

It seems that the 'i' is dotted with a heart... I'm thinking this is not Julian at all.
posted by Thinkly at 8:47 AM on February 6, 2014

Response by poster: The "i" is not dotted with a heart, although it certainly appears so in the photograph. I'm staring at it now and there's no heart (that may have just been the flash). The signature is definitely "Julian". The other painting is with family in another city and I do not have a photo (and unfortunately cannot post). The signatures in the two painting are identical ("JULIAN" with the flourish on the "n").
posted by nia22 at 2:45 PM on February 6, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions on this - We'll keep the search going!!
posted by nia22 at 8:34 PM on February 9, 2014

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