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Joel Beck Original Art Mermaids Admired by Pink Fish

Joel Beck Original Art Mermaids Admired by Pink Fish
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    JOEL BECK (1944-1999). "Mermaids Admired by Pink Fish'" (circa 1970s)

    Original paintings for Joe Back are very scarce. This is the first we've seen. Beck was one of the first of the underground cartoonists. His published work pre-dates R. Crumb's ZAP and nearly every other artist in the field. This whimsical piece was probably unpublished.

    Medium: Watercolor and ink on Bristol board.  Dimensions: 14 x 11 inches. Signed and dated 1984, but this is the date Beck sold and personalized the piece (as we know from three other originals sold to the same collector in 1984), not the date of creation, which we believe to be considerably earlier.

    Condition: Slight crease in lower left but overall very good.

    As the scan indicates, there are edge tears, particularly on the left side, and two creases in the lower left corner. There are seven thumbtack holes at the top (in three clusters) and one at the bottom. A piece of rolled-over masking tape remains at the bottom reverse, suggesting that it was once thus mounted. There is some light staining on the left margin and overall signs of discoloration, probably from being exposed to the sun in the garret of this often-starving pioneer underground cartoonist.

    Provenance: From the collection of a friend of Beck's in Southern California. A one-owner original.

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