What 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).
The 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.
2. 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.
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.