Arthur William Wilson (July 20, 1892 – November 18, 1974) was an American artist who painted under several known pseudonyms, including Winslow Wilson and Pico Miran. Wilson/Miran is considered one of the earliest artists of the Post Modern Art Movement. He is widely quoted from his Manifesto For Post-Modern Art, published in 1951, under the name Pico Miran.
Wilson attended Harvard College between 1911-1915, becoming an Editor of the The Harvard Monthly with his friends John Dos Passos and E.E. Cummings. Wilson would go on to share an apartment at 21 East 15th Street in New York City with E.E. Cummings, and enlist in the U.S. Military during 1917-1919, joining John Dos Passos and E.E. Cummings and other Harvard students in France. He spent time in Paris with E.E. Cummings, and mingled with Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and other influential painters of the period in London and Paris in the 1920’s.
Wilson was active in the New York, NY, Lime Rock, CT, Gloucester, MA, and Rockport, MA art scenes between the 1930’s – 1972. Wilson painted post-modern artwork utilizing the name Pico Miran in his Gloucester, Massachusetts studio, taught portraiture at the Rockport Art Association in Rockport, Massachusetts under the name Winslow Wilson, and painted seascapes as Winslow Wilson in his Rockport, Massachusetts studio.
From all aspects, it seems that Wilson was strongly influenced by his time at Harvard and World War I. In addition to a tragic event which resulted in the death of one of Wilson’s friends in 1912, there is evidence that Wilson encountered trauma during World War I. Art became a vehicle through which Wilson found solace. His Post-Modern artwork is replete with images of industrial and nuclear effects upon the common man. Growing up in rural Texas, to a life in Boston and New York, friendships with intellectuals, Wilson’s writings reveal a man who held his craft and opinions in high regard. Understanding that Wilson eschewed family relationships while fully immersing himself as a bit of an artistic recluse, provides an insight into the life of this artist.
Following Wilson’s death in 1974, his long-term companion, Jane Grey (an accomplished portrait artist), gifted his paintings to his only son, Horace Peter Wilson. Those paintings remained stored in Kansas City until 2012, at which time the paintings were distributed to Wilson’s grandchildren.
In 2014, Dave Rich, a Gloucester native, stated in a correspondence with Peter Anastas:
“…would take an interest in the precocious postmodernism of Pico Miran. His value lies in his theorizing postmodernity, and making the first forays into postmodern visual art — the seascapes were a virtuoso performance; Winslow was no less a character than Pico or Tex. In that sense he was a performance artist. A kind of Andy Kaufman who took personae and masks to the extreme. On this conceptual level, if explained as such, Wilson ought to be recovered; and could be recovered by an astute and enterprising curator.”
The paintings are in the process of being professionally restored and framed, and efforts are underway to showcase Wilson’s paintings.
The photograph on the left was taken by the artist’s son in 1970, in Abilene, Texas. The painting was sold in 2013 with the following information:
“A few months ago I was able to purchase directly from a family member , many dozens of original oil paintings by the Rockport / Gloucester Mass artist Eleanor Hill ( sometimes spelled Eleanore). I spent a great deal of time talking with her son who was terminally ill at the time and just the nicest person. He told me many stories of growing up in the Gloucester area in the 1940-50-60’s and surrounded by his mother’s many famous artist friends. He told his mother was a ” head hunter ” , a portrait artist, always looking for people with an interesting face to paint. When he could recall any information about a particular individual I wrote it on the back of that person’s portrait. Also on the back of most of the painting is an estate stamp reading ” Eleanor Hill Gloucester Mass “. I will be offering the collection over the coming winter months. This vintage oil painting on artist board measures 16 x 20 inches. It is in good , “as is” condition but does have minor scratches to the surface. It portrays the artist Winslow Wilson in an affected pose. It has the estate stamp on the back of ” Eleanor Hill Gloucester, Mass ” and also written on the back is ” Winslow Wilson – artist – seascape artist in NYC, Acapolco Mexico , Rockport , MA”.
Another painting was sold on Ebay to a family member with the following information:
“Vintage Oil Male Portrait Painting of Rockport Artist Winslow Wilson on Board – by Gloucester listed Artist Eleanor Hill – Cool! The Painting is on artist board and measures approximately 16 x 20 inches. The painting weighs approximately 14.3 Ounces. The Painting is in decent Vintage Condition – There is some slight fraying on each of the corners of the painting. Nothing significant. There is also some soiling on the white areas of the painting. Stamped “Eleanor Hill” on the back of the painting with h a handwritten description of the subject. See photos. We love this painting and so will you! See our other listings of paintings By deceased Gloucester listed artist, Eleanor Hill!”
The artist, as a man, was drawn to a place. That place, Cape Ann, was, and continues to be, magical. The grittiness of the fishing history, coupled with the sophistication of the literary and arts community, creates, what I will refer to, as a “terroir”. With each step in this process, I have become more enamored with this place, as Einstein once said:
“The divine reveals itself in the physical world.” (Z. Rosenkranz, Albert through the Looking Glass (Jewish National Library Jerusalem, 1998), pp.xi, 80; Jammer, p.151.)