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The Maker of Goblins

Oil on canvas
32 1/8 x 26 1/8 inches
1919
Now on view: TJC Gallery, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Characteristic of William Edouard Scott’s regionalist depictions of Southern life, The Maker of Goblins is a playful rendering of the autumnal tradition of pumpkin carving. But the painting’s ornate frame (click image to view) is not typical molded plaster or carved wood: it is papier-mâché, handcrafted by the artist himself. A technique in which thin strips of paper are layered and sealed with an adhesive and then dried into a hard, shell-like material, papier-mâché was a favored frame-making method for Scott. However, due to the fragility of the material, few of Scott’s handmade frames are fully intact to this day.

One hundred years after its creation, The Maker of Goblins’ frame is a pristinely preserved example of Scott’s strikingly detailed and delicate technique. Take a closer look at the process by inspecting the model frame on the pedestal. A careful touch reveals that, with many layers, creative shading, and patience, fragile materials can be transformed into an elaborate and long-lasting work of art.

Other works by this artist