Saturday, April 7, 2012


(Sketch of antique frame corner)

Today Dave G and I paid a visit to the Sovereign Gallery in downtown Portland. The objective was to find out more about Dave's painting of his great-great grandmother, Mary Hooke Barton. We met with Robert Joki and his assistant Sue. Dave told them everything he knew about his heirloom painting. He has had the painting for 40+ years and never knew that it was signed on the front. The signature is very subtle across the top of a shoulder, but Curator Robert Joki found it within minutes.

Robert discovered that the signature reads Wm (William) and the last name is _(first letter indiscernible), followed by a-l-e (year 1906). We already knew that an artist named Darius Cobb repainted part of the face and hair (because this was information is on the back of the painting).

 Here (in photo above) is where the signature of the first artist is.

Mary Hooke Barton probably enjoyed getting out of the house, being driven downtown and becoming the center of attention at the lovely Sovereign Gallery.  Robert read from a big book about Cobb and who Cobb had worked with (but the original artist is still a mystery).

(L to R): Dave, Robert and Sue)

Robert gave Dave advice about where to have the painting restored and also where to have the frame restored to it's original dark gold. We had wondered if Mary Hooke B could be reframed into something more modern, but Robert said bad idea! The frame and painting simply go together like scotch and soda, Tango and Cash and Cobb and _ale!

 I saw some Eric Jacobsen paintings at the Sovereign 

And this cool painting by Leon Bonnat.

It was my first visit to the Sovereign and I'll be back. I purchased a book about Manet and then we loaded Mary Hooke B back into the car and she was driven home. A great adventure for all of us.

(Top Photo) Sketch: Celeste Bergin, Ornate frame, ink on 9x12 paper


David E. Castillo said...

What a painting! I would really like to have something like that passed down in my family of an ancestor. It's remarkable.

David E. Castillo said...

Your drawing of is good. That is one scrolly frame.

Autumn Leaves said...

What an interesting and fun day you had!! And I can see a family resemblance too. The frame itself is gorgeous (as is your sketch) and I agree that it should be restored rather than changed out. Me? I found a way to spend money at Dick Blick yesterday. Sigh...

martinealison said...

Sur cette peinture le travail de la dentelle est exemplaire...
Gros bisous et joyeuses fĂȘtes pascales.

notmassproduced said...

love the lovely loose swirls in your drawing :) xx

Celeste Bergin said...

Martine wrote:

In this painting the lace work is exemplary ...
Big hugs and happy Easter holiday.

Thanks Martine!

Linda Roth said...

Wonderful painting! Interesting that the second artist to work on it signed it. I never thought to do that on the portrait my parents had painted of me; I repainted my eyes, hair and lips (without anyone noticing). Having been in the frame business for quite a few years, you never part with the frames from that era. They are gold next to what's being made today. Plus it absolutely goes with the lady's style.

Celeste Bergin said...

This received via email from Gus, Dave's younger brother:

"Quite a day. I always thought this was a picture of a guy when I was growing up. Let me know how it all works out".

Gus G
Advanced Consulting Insurance Group, Inc.