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Charles Goeller (1901 – 1955)



43. Paradise Lost (But His Doom), c. 1940s


Crayon on paper, 17 ½ x 12 ½ inches (image), 22 x 15 inches (sheet), Signed lower right, inscribed in the artist’s hand on a tab attached to the sheet: “But his doom/ Reserv’d him to more wrath; for now the thought/Both of lost happiness and lasting pain/ Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes/ That witness’d huge affliction and dismay/ Mixt with obdurate pride and steadfast hate” (John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1)


$20,000 (set of four, catalog numbers 43, 44, 45 and 46)


Exhibited:

Emotion Expressed Through Precision: The Art of Charles Goeller, Franklin Riehlman Fine Art and Magan Moynihan Fine Art, New York, 2003


Literature:

Stavitsky, Gail, Emotion Expressed Through Precision: The Art of Charles Goeller, New York: Franklin Riehlman Fine Art and Megan Moynihan Fine Art, 2003, unpaginated (illustrated) (“Well-received when it was exhibited in 1943 at the Society of Independent Artists and the M. H. De Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, this hypnotic drawing relates to But His Doom, one of Goeller’s four illustrations for John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost (1667). Enshrouded in darkness, the subject of this crayon drawing – Satan – is clearly a self-portrait, similar in contour to the artists’ head in How does it Feel to be a Piece of Paper? Goeller’s inscription quotes the passage that refers to Satan’s ‘baleful eyes that witness’d huge affliction and dismay.’ These Bad Angels equates the fallen angels with the biblical plague of locusts over Egypt. The Flying Fiend and Plumb Down He Drops depict passages that discuss the best way for the fallen angels to seek revenge against heaven – through open or secret war. These despairing allusions make one wonder if Goeller’s Paradise Lost series was drawn in response to the events of World War II. In 1942 the printmaker Ralph Fabri (1894- 1975), a fellow instructor at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art, exhibited his own interpretation of Paradise Lost at the Smithsonian Institution, where it was praised for its evocation of the horrors of the war. Although there are many other possible precedents, William Blake’s illustrations of Paradise Lost (1807 – 1808) seem to have the closest aesthetic and spiritual orientation.”)



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