Oil on canvas, 21.75 x 15.75 inches/Signed lower right
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Trompe l'oeil life artist Edward Norton Griffith was born in Belvedere, New Jersey, the son of a Methodist preacher. Very little biographical information is available for him; however, public records show him as living in Irvington, NJ by 1895 (but may have arrived there before then). Not as well-known as trompe l’oeil artist, Michael Hartnett, one of Griffith’s works was described by American Art Historian, William A. Gerdts, as taking “on the total iconography of Harnett, but approached it in a manner not only painterly but really romantic, with an emphasis upon irregular outlines, and dynamic compositional lines seemingly incompatible with the school." This painting, “Presidential Trompe L'oeil” surely fits that description. Although it has been suggested that his wife’s failing health prompted him to leave the art profession, this may not be the primary reason. Griffith was married in 1912; however, public records list him as a carpenter-builder earlier, from 1910 to 1926. Perhaps painting was more of a hobby, or his sales did not provide sufficient income. Also, Griffith continued to exhibit in New York City until the late 1920s, so he was still painting before and after his wife died in 1923. It is believed that the Griffiths first began visiting to Avon Park, FL circa 1920, likely due to his wife’s poor health. He became a permanent Avon Park resident circa 1926. Although retired, he pursued painting as a hobby and taught art classes. Griffith was a member of the Society of Independent Artists (NYC) and the Irvington (New Jersey) Art and Camera Club. He exhibited at Society of Independent Artists (1917 – 1923 and 1926 - 1929).