(Arthur Wilson painted in his Gloucester, Massachusetts studio, located in the Bradbury Building, under the pseudonym “Pico Miran”. The Bradbury Building burned to the ground in the 1950’s, destroying among other things, the only copy of Wilson’s autobiography. We understand that Pico Miran paintings were offered for sale during his lifetime, and would greatly appreciate any insights that anyone can offer as to the paintings that exist outside of the family.
Many of the post-modern paintings were given titles. It appears that none were signed on the front, but many have identifying markers on the backings. The post-modern paintings have themes related to nuclear destruction, political and religious themes of the times. The titles of some of the paintings provide insights as to the message reflected in the artwork.
This painting, untitled, paired with a photograph of the artwork on display, along with the artist and Rockport resident Bea McNulty, was published in The Rockport Eagle.
Images of many of Pico Miran’s post-modern paintings are shown below, with their names (if available) and the measurements of the actual paintings:
There exists a five piece series of 16″ x 20″ paintings that depict scenes reflective of war, religion and politics, that I refer to as the “Political Series”. One, in particular, has notes on the backing which read:
“”God-given Right. “The right to prosperity is a God-given right” (Al Smith)., c.f. Bethlehem Steel Strike, Johnstown, Pa., the role of the Reverend John H. Stanton (The Nation, March 26, 1938).”
The painting itself depicts multiple topics, including religion, racism, nazism, big business and politics. The artist clearly desired to make a composite between these topics evidenced by his notation “c.f.”.
Al Smith (Alfred E. Smith) is depicted in the painting, holding the Empire State Building in his hat. Alfred E. Smith, a Roman Catholic, was the developer of the Empire State Building in New York City (completed in 1931), and was the Mayor of New York City for four terms: in 1919-1920, and again in 1923-1928. He ran for President of the United States in 1928 against Herbert Hoover and lost.
The editorial referred to by the artist was published in the March 26, 1938 issue of The Nation, was entitled Fascism – American Style, and focused on the Bethlehem Steel Strike, detailing a web of greed and corruption in government, religion and big business at the expense of the workers.
The remaining four paintings of the “Political Series”are displayed below: