J. Carroll Tobias (1899-1996), the man who painted this oil on canvas panel, was multi-talented: an artist, an illustrator, a picture framer, a calligrapher and a silversmith, to name a few of his diverse specialties. Tobias authored books with titles like "The Student's Manual of Microscopic Technique," he made jewelry, he took photographs, he did calligraphy and painted artworks like this rustic farm scene. It's done in the American Regionalism style, the art movement that highlighted rural America, that was championed by Grant Wood. Instead of castles and mansions done in dark, hazy colors like the paintings of the Romantic Period and the cluttered, heavily detailed ones of the Victorian Era, the American Regionalism artist used strong blocks of natural colors to depict the life they saw around them in small towns and on farms.
The painting is signed lower left "J. Carroll Tobias" in a distinctive, Arts & Crafts era font (remember, Tobias was also a calligrapher), with the date 6 22 74 in blue beneath the letters. The artist was 75 years old when he painted this. In addition to creating the artwork, Tobias made the frame. Our framer replaced the torn paper on the back, adding 2 rubber wall bumpers and a new coated hanging wire, but preserved Tobias' original round paper label. We loved the motto on the label: "The Frame Makes The Picture And We Make The Frame."
The address given on the label, 501 Main Street, shows that Tobias was in his offices in the basement at the historic 1810 Goundie House in Bethlehem, built by a Moravian businessman (Tobias studied art at the Moravian Seminary there). He was still working there three days a week at age 90. We've included a copy of his obituary from December 19, 1996 issue of The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
The sight size of the painting measures 11 1/2 inches wide by 15 1/2 inches tall, with the framed size 13 inches by 17 inches. The painting was set into a recessed 1 inch deep, simple frame made of fir, with the front edge painted gold and the rest with a medium brown stain. It weighs a bit over 1 1/2 pounds and is in excellent condition, with no tears, stains or other damage, ready to hang and admire.