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Pictor Ignotus


[From the Community Collection, a public trust in Agincourt, Iowa]

Pictor Ignotus [1920s]

“Births Blessed by God”


oil on panel / 12 inches by 16 inches

The indistinct signature opens the door to wondrous (if irresponsible) speculation. The style and composition suggest the unknown artist knew the scandalous work of symbolist paintera of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Though the color palette is far more aggressive, consider Belgian artist James Ensor’s “Fall of the Rebellious Angels” or the 1910 compositionally similar “Underwater Visions” by Odilon Redon of France.

“Fall of the Rebellious Angels”, James Ensor (1889)

“Underwater Visions”, Odilon Redon (1910)

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