The Curious Case of Edward M Plunkett, or how to define this charming obsessive? Coming to New York in the 1950s, like many young men he decided to remake himself into an artist and a man-about-town. Where his preoccupations and predilections landed him was somewhere between Edward Gorey (whose work his most closely resembles) and Florine Stettheimer, with a touch of the New Yorker’s Mary Petty. An uncertain draughtsman, this Michigander schooled himself diligently to successfully depict imaginary recreations of a time and milieu that obsessed him, which was the dawning of the age of the movies and the first flowering of the twentieth century before the Great War cut it short. A fantasy world. And it is his devotion to it that invests his work with the considerable charm it possesses. He believes. Therefore it truly lives. He is a classic naif, a social-climber folk-artist, an outsider’s outsider, a self-enchanter. And this is definitely High Camp.
This scene (and someone is definitely making one) is terribly amusing. At a rather swank movie theater, the clientele in evening dress, it looks like the film is being projected out of register, and a lady, looking very like the star of the film (it must be her!) has risen in her seat to complain to the projectionist. Her companion is urging her to sit down, but Lyda is, indeed, “In Torment”! The motto on the proscenium, “Fiat Lux”, means Let There Be Light. Pretty delish.
Framed, bearing the label of his gallery, the David Herbert Gallery, on the back, 22 1/12″ x 15 1/2″. Ink and watercolor