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Fine Art/oil on canvas, 1930th


Dear expert Lombardo,
  Again I turn to your advice and expertise. This time it is 2 works I bought in Prague in 2005.
  First - is actually a PART of the whole picture which was sold in the junk-store as a paper reproduction of The Last Supper and this caricaturesque work was THE BACK of the carton... I do not know when and by whom the other part was removed... It looks like German/Austro-Hungarian to me, but I am not the expert - you are and a great one!
  The other has a year - 1937(?), and an unclear signature...
  Both are oil on carton.
Thank you in advance for you help,
With great respect,
Mark Davidov

Thank you Mark, for  both the  interesting questions and the good quality images.

A somewhat eclectic, but very interesting mix of items.

These are however, not the long lost  ”Leonardo’s” of the art world.

In an odd sort way, they are far more interesting.
Both are time capsules of events, ideas, fashions and social statements of the times.  

1. The Caricature, called ironing.

It is only part of a much larger work. It also is undoubtedly, a political satire, as the woman in the dress - has the face of man.

I suspect,that it may date to the 1960’s and is an attack on the then - political system in Eastern Europe.
The face of a well political figure, is therefore disguised as a woman in order,to avoid censorship and even arrest.

It may well refer to real events which have taken place in Czechoslovakia, Poland,or even Hungary.
It would probably refer to, a defunct political process. Lack of food, ironing out corruption, turning the heat up and so forth.

Before the Iron Curtain came down, in the late 1980’s there was plenty of popular dissent with the old régimes.  

However, one needed to be careful, otherwise a knock on the door in the middle of the night, might well mean - a signal for a Houdini like disappearing act  - perhaps also forever.

This is really an antique of the future, right now it is just a collectible.
A great deal of time consuming research is need, in order to unravel the all threads.

By doing  so, it will undoubtedly also increase the provenance and the monetary value.
In a few years these objects, will become quite rare and sought after. Undoubtedly they will come to rest  in great  museums, and seats of Government.

Places like the “White House” and all the many similar “White Houses” - throughout the whole world. Such artifacts like the East European  “Caricature” and others from  such places like Auschwitz, Sobibor and elsewhere, they  are all signposts of mans folly.

The author, is to be found amongst the underground movement of political and social dissent in Eastern Europe.

Mostly because of the secret police, they preferred to remain anonymous.   

Prison, torture, execution, banishment, or a forced labour camp in Siberia are but a few, of the  methods for imposing a curfew of silence upon the many generations.

But there are still  known groups of  ”aging” East European dissidents who are still alive today, andit is amongst those - where the key to this riddle is to be found.

2.  A fencing bout, with the favored weapon being the Epee.

A typical “action” shot /sketch of an attack and defense posture.

The red socks also have a hidden meaning, that this is “personal.”  
It is not just a ordinary bout, but here - an old score is being settled.

The old art of dueling at dawn had been forbidden by law, during the early 19th century.

It was then thinned down a bit, and turned into something called  “Mesur.”  

No longer, had one the infamous bare breasted women, or Dandies in the park at dawn along with a cortège of doctors and secondants, to chose their weapons.

Mesur, and the colour of  trickling blood all crept indoors; away from any prying eyes and the police.

Although highly illegal, it is still practiced today in certain quarters, in order to gain “satisfaction.”

Deaths no longer occur, although in spite of the use of goggles for eye protection,some nasty scaring of the face and neck may take place, and tetanus shots are also advisable.

Also as of old, traditions die hard and the doctors and secondants; are still in attendance at each bloody Mensur.

Your 1930’s painting however, is NOT of Mesur, but clearly shows that “satisfaction” still needs to be had.  

The choice of weapon in the painting, the Epee - clearly points to serious commitments in order to recieve “satisfaction.”

Of little use here in this painting, is the dainty “Ladies” choice of weapon; called the foil.

This dispute is serious, and also needs an equally serious weapon, to settle the question of honor.

It is also  during the 1930’s that one had the revival of the ancient “Germanic Teutonic” ideals, belonging to a certain cultural identity.
This is to be found in both films, health and fitness,  sports like the Olympic Games, Cocktails,  fashions as in “Catwalk’s”  hairdo’s and even in men’s aftershave etc.

So, the title of  “En Garde” (are you ready gentlemen?) might be the best name for your painting.

Who is the artist??? Someone at the club….. an artistic bystander, who is left to record the sublime moment of truth and satisfaction of the final - “Touché”.

It would also be nice to think- that at the end, both opponents faced each other, removed their fencing masks, saluted - using the Epee’s  - and then saluted the adjudicators. Lastly, removing the kidskin fencing gloves - to shake hands.


A specialist object… and very desirable in certain quarters.

Find the source????

Me, myself…. I much prefer to use my imagination!

I would much prefer to think that it was a heated, romantic question; concerning a woman….just like John Powells  - Assassins Tango.

What a letdown if the real truth was just about a boring, unpaid bar bill, or a mere scratch on a car door!!!!

Not all artist’s, are easily to be found.

Some hide deliberately, others are “will o the wisp”  just like a “Lucky Strike” smoldering in a 1930's ash tray.

Sometimes the message within the image, far outweighs any monetary value.

I wish you all the lest and very luck with you artifacts.

One last point - Valuations.

If they are reproductions, then the value is less than an original work. However, if they are really a genuine original works, then an auction house can make a very good assessment; as to condition and value, etc.

The yellow pages, should point you in the direction of the auction houses in your location in illinois,
I would strongly advise, in taking it along to at least 2 different auction houses for a valuation. Second opinions, are always very beneficial indeed.

Furthermore; should you desire to take it to auction - then I would also advise on selling it with a fixed bottom end reserve - but perhaps with a 10% auctioneers discretion.

Selling without a fixed reserve, is definitely not to recommended.
I wish you all the best and very luck with you artifacts.

Very good luck at the auction house. I am sure they will be able to help you over the last hurdle.
Take care, and have a good weekend.

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D. E. Lombardo


I am unable to answer enquiries concerning objects, which are NOT related to the areas of Fine Art and Antiques. Nor will I; on the sole basis of any photographic images be willing to give any definitive monetary valuations, or monetary opinions. In such cases I would always advise on getting “real time” valuations and opinions from reputable and qualified auction houses, or third parties. In some applicable cases, I may perhaps give general indications of value, based on the presented materials. True valuations always need a direct “hands on” approach, with perhaps also the necessary research and verifications. Broadly open to almost all questions, regarding the majority of both European, American quality objects, which are related to both Antiques and Fine Art. This also includes modern 20th century designer objects such as furniture etc. My own particular comfort zone areas would be; The decorative Arts, marble, stone, furniture, ivory, bone, amber, ceramics and porcelain, sculpture, glass, silver and metal objects etc. I will also answer inquiries, and give opinions concerning Dutch 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings. Please note that I do have limitations and cannot possibly answer all questions, as the field is very extensive. VERY IMPORTANT and PLEASE NOTE: Please note that; providing > GOOD CLEAR and Preferably High Resolution < photo's of the object(s)in question, is vital. Pics taken with a cell/mobile phone, are of a poor quality and best avoided. Posting signatures only, or just fragments of an artifact - will only provide me with insufficient information and it is often quite misleading. So please; Do post good clear overall images, with your question(s). Failing to do so, may cause rejection, which is also a great pity.


Since the early 90’s I lead a team of very enthusiastic staff at a business, where have the following disciplines; Restoration and refurbishment of historical buildings and gardens, including interior design. The restoration and care of Fine Art and Antiques at our restoration studio We are also Fine Art and Antique dealers, besides being collectors ourselves for a great number of years.

The main professional organization of which I am a member is the BNA, or Association of Dutch Architects, which is equivalent to the US; American Institute of Architects. Affiliated to the Art Loss Register in London and the International Cites Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Villa Rufolo; The forgotten paradise on earth. Published by the University of Aarhus, Denmark Book reviews and articles for International Archis Magazine, in the Netherlands.

Since I wished to become a Restoration Architect, firstly I took my BA degree in Art History. Then after graduation, I followed this immediately by studies to graduate and become a Restoration Architect. Ever since then, I have been an established Restoration Architect and Antiquarian. Since a great number of buildings are also inhabited by Fine Art fixtures and furnishings, I also became absorbed by all the artifacts, which go to fill them and not only the edifices themselves. This and much more, was the reason for gaining an advisory post on the City Commission; For The Protection and Care of Historic Monuments of Amsterdam - Amstelveen.

Awards and Honors
Citations and gratitude; “From the Town of Amalfi” for the groundwork achieved in order bring back the Historical past to the Medieval Villa Rufolo and its vital role in the region. BA in Art Hisory. Graduation Diploma as an Architect & Antiquarian; and also practicing as such. I have also completed a 3 year course in antiques, at the VHOK in Amsterdam VHOK is translated as; ( "The Association of Fine Art Dealers In The Netherlands.")

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