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J. Earl Schrack... Earlier Mystery Solved

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  • J. Earl Schrack... Earlier Mystery Solved

    I recently posted an inquiry about a well-done Impressionist painting of a Latin American village (, which I was unable to identify. With great care, I removed the painting from the mat, discovering who the artist is (a plus) and discovering that it was actually oil on canvas, not stretched, merely attached to a double mat with mounting tape (a real minus). As it happens, the artist was J. Earl Schrack (originally Schrock), and the painting was done in 1948 (signed "J. Earl Schrack -- 48"). For anyone interested, here's a bit of info about the artist: J. Earl Schrack, artist and teacher of San Diego, was featured and carries a distinction of being in ''Who's Who In American Art" where he is listed as having studied in the Art Institute in Chicago; University of Art In Milwaukee; the Art Student's League in New York, majoring in portraiture under Robert Henri; the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis; George Inness Jr., in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and much foreign travel in Europe, including the Hans Hoffman School In Munich and Capri. Kind of a neat painting, but this style of mounting doesn't seem to treat it with any great respect. Anyhow, mystery solved.
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  • #2
    Fascinating to find this posting here! J. Earl Schrack was my grandfather, and if there's anything more you'd like to know about him, you can ask me, I'm the keeper of our family history. My father, his son, is still living as of 2017, and I can ask him questions that he'd know more about than I.

    Earl's grandparents on his father's side had been Amish, but his father broke away from that community to join his wife's Seventh-Day Adventist church, in which he found his vocation as a minister. Earl first married Fannie Elizabeth Stahly, my grandmother, who died tragically young, while my father, their only son, was a little boy. Later, Earl married Elizabeth Blimberg, but they had no children.

    Earl lived and worked in New York City for most of his career, settling in San Diego during the later period of his life. He eked out a living during the Depression era by teaching, painting portraits, murals, and illustrations for magazines. He was associated with the Russian artist and visionary Nicholas Roerich for some years, and managed and taught classes at his museum in New York, according to what I understand.

    I can believe that the painting you have wasn't carefully mounted. From the paintings of his that I have, it doesn't seem that this was something he paid a lot of attention to. Many of the paintings have come down to me unframed, as well as many unmounted drawings and studies.

    However, if you enjoy his style, his way with color and light and the texture of paint, they are certainly well worth having. I only wish I could afford to buy some of those I see in online auctions.

    Bonnie Schrack


    • #3
      My grandmother rented an apartment to Earl in the 1940's while he was living in the LA area. On several occasions Earl could not pay the monthly rent. My grandmother accepted a painting each time Earl was unable to pay the rent. Between my bothers and me we have 5 of Earl's paintings. If you would like to see them I would be happy to send you a photo, let me know.


      • #4
        Hello, Bonnie Schrack. I purchased a small oil painting recently and was told that it was done by your grandfather Joseph Schrack. Can I send you photos of the painting? Is there anyone who could verify that it is indeed your grandfather’s work? Thanks. Vince Randlett.


        • #5
          Hi Bonnie... I'm an art historian and am interested in your grandfather's work; particularly his abstract paintings (of which I've seen only a few). Feel free to contact me privately through my profile. I'd be interested in seeing more from Joseph's oeuvre and possibly writing an article about him.


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