Thursday, 22 February 2018

EbookCoverWelcome to the George Quaintance blog. Your hosts, John Waybright and Ken Furtado, are the authors of QUAINTANCE: The Short Life of an American Art Pioneer, the only complete, authoritative biography of Quaintance ever written. Our book fills a cultural, historical and academic void for this seminal 20th century artist. It is packed with photos and available as an ebook at Smashwords, for the low price of $12.99. We are excited to have exclusive access to hundreds of never-published photographs from Quaintance’s personal scrapbooks and family archives. Sadly, John passed away in May 2013, before seeing the book published. We hope you will use this site as a platform to exchange ideas, information and images related to this under-valued artist, as well as to learn more about him. Please send your email to


decoladyWhat becomes of an artist's legacy when there is no exhibition history, no clear estate, and no body of written work or other documentation to authenticate it? In the case of George Quaintance, it disturbs me to see so many paintings and drawings that are represented as his. It also disturbs me to see unsubstantiated claims presented as fact, such as the assertion that Quaintance and the female pin-up artist Quintana were the same person. To that I can add other inaccuracies: a recent auction in which the original canvas, Reverie, was given the title Apollo; and another auction in which a portrait of 1940s Los Angeles socialite, Mrs. Milton Stevens, was sold as being a portrait of Rita Hayworth (this was after I emailed the owner a titled photograph of the work taken directly from one of Quaintance's personal scrapbooks).

byThorThe situation becomes even more muddled when a work surfaces that can indisputably be established as being a work by Quaintance, yet it is completely unfamiliar to most fans and scholars and bears little resemblance to his other works. The unsigned art deco portrait above looks like the lady just stepped from the set of Downton Abbey. This is the only image in this blog entry that IS by Quaintance.

Here are some other images that have been incorrectly attributed to George Quaintance.

1. These two works (above right) are clearly signed "Thor," yet they were offered on eBay as drawings by Quaintance.

maewest2. The mural in Mae West's Malibu beach house has been attributed to Quaintance. It was destroyed when subsequent owners remodeled the home. I have yet to locate a full-on color photo, but based on what this snapshot shows, it is not a Quaintance work. West and Quaintance were contemporaries, and they both socialized with bodybuilders, so it is feasible that they knew each other.

3. These underwater sprites, discovered at an online tribute site to GQ, invite comparison to the muscled beauties of Neptune's Children, Coral Reef and Sunlit Depths, but they are clearly not the work of Quaintance.

aquaboys4. Here are two more drawings (bottom left) that were offered on eBay as works by Quaintance. They are not from the same seller nor are they by the same artist.

5. My last two examples are a watercolor drawing of a splendid wasp-waisted hunk and an oil painting of a harlequin with a nice back and buns, but neither of these is a Quaintance painting.

1stDuo  2ndduo


#3 Brian Wilson 2016-11-19 13:25
Sorry I meant to say I owned the one on the left.
#2 Brian Wilson 2016-11-19 13:10
I actually owned the one on the right for item 5. It was one of two done in a similar vein. They both had a notation in pencil they were from the Quaintance Collection, perhaps meaning Quaintance had owned them, but had the name Mann Hardt (or Mannhardt) written on the back.
#1 Charles Verrastro 2014-06-24 13:18
In the book:
Twentieth-century American folk art and artists / by Herbert W. Hemphill, Jr., Julia Weissman
you will find a short entry for an Australian, Leslie Grimes who did the mural. He was a professional wrestler and Circus strongman who turned his hand to art in his spare time. He did scenery and illustration art in Hollywood studios, and painted tropical backgrounds on the walls of many of the Vic Tanny Gyms he trained in.
Grimes was picked for the job through his friendship with Mae West’s long-time lover and fellow wrestler and strongman. The shocking (for that or, I fear, any time) homoeroticism wasn’t intended as it was West’s commission and she had little shame in that area as I’m sure you know. He may have had some advice from gay artist George Quaintance, who also worked in Hollywood and the physique magazine world at the time, but as far as is known he didn’t directly work on any of the paintings at the Santa Monica residence.

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