Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bernice Lady in a Lavender Hat Framed Art

It is now March 15, 2018, more than 4 years since I originally penned this blog post on Bernice, the Lady in the Lavender Hat. In the past 4 years, I connected with another art enthusiast, Chet Yoakum, who also had a framed art piece of Bernice! On March 15th, the mystery of the artist was solved. Let me tell you how it all played out ...

On March 9, 2018, looking to find a suitable match and male companion, I created my singles profile on POF - plenty of fish. I encountered such an overwhelming response to my profile with quickly over 100 men claiming they wanted to meet me. The messages were many, and kept coming. So, maybe a day or so into the experience, I clicked to see my matches as proclaimed by POF, and then took a look at my UltraMatches.

I sent a message to the fellow who had the first profile listed on UltraMatch. Fast forward ... we opted to meet for dinner and get to know each other. I met him in Mt. Dora. Knowing he had an airbnb listing with a couple currently visiting, I further opted to meet him at his home. Important note ... I never have done what could be a risky thing and surely do not recommend this to anybody else! Please do meet in a public place to be safe. Then, later, after you establish he is not an axe murderer or something worse, you may feel comfortable visiting his home.

Back to our first meeting ... Stepping into his living room, I saw a whimsical work of art of women with bright lipstick and beauty marks on his orange wall. I couldn't believe it! I took a closer look at the art and the artist signature. "Oh my goodness, but I do believe I have a work of art by the same artist!!"

I asked him, who is the artist? The artist signature on his piece was a bit more legible than the signature on my Bernice. When I came home, I Googled "Borys Buzkij" and then took a look at some of the Google images in that search. OMG! I was sure he was my artist. I had to have confirmation ... so I emailed Borys Buzkij on March 15, 2018. Later that night, I got an email reply:

March 15, 2018 Email Response from Borys Buzkij
March 15, 2018 Email Response from Borys Buzkij

"The piece you have is a silkscreen done by myself many years ago. The Edition was done for a gallery in Florida. Hope you always enjoy the piece you have. Much more of my work can be seen on my Homepage and Website if you go on Google under my name." Thank You, Borys Buzkij

I also reached out to Chet Yoakum on Facebook to tell him I thought the mystery was solved. He too decided to contact Borys Buzkij and ask him for himself. When I chatted with Chet the morning of March 16th, he replied back, "Yep! I heard back from Borys and the mystery is officially solved. YOU DID WELL, GRASSHOPPER!!! Thanks!"

So, I guess I have POF to thank for all this playing out? Could it be fate, karma, kismet? My, how curious the world can be. I've also reached out to Borys, asking him about his ancestry. He replied that he lived on the Westside of Cleveland, Ohio ... that is where I am from and where my maternal and fraternal grandparents lived all their lives. He also replied that his ancestry is the Ukraine. How about that? My fraternal grandparents were Ukrainian and Polish!

I found an interesting online interview-article featuring Borys Buzkij, and his fat ladies art, penned by Gypsy H. Gilmore on April 25, 1986 entitled, Patrons Taking Fat Ladies Home - Ohioan's Artwork Inspires Smiles. Would you believe that Borys actually worked for American Greetings for four years? I'm surely thinking his art would sell a lot of whimsical greeting cards ... wonder if he ever considered doing cards? And, would you believe that Borys is a commanding 6 ft. 5 in. tall?

Borys admitted how much he enjoyed his art subjects, fat ladies. I was seeking more information about the inspiration behind my art of his. However, in that 1986 interview, he claimed that none of his fat ladies had names nor were they based on any real life persons. Now, I am thinking that might have changed when he created Bernice! He did draw inspiration from his in-laws stating that they were on the heavy side. Good thing for us! Good thing for Bernice!


I am pretty sure that this work of art is titled Bernice - that's what it looks like on the art. This work is an Artist Proof by an unknown artist. It is a hand signed and numbered limited edition serigraph. The serigraph itself measures approximately 24 inches wide by 18 inches high. The art is signed in pencil in the lower right hand corner; however, I can't make out the signature. See if you can identify this work of art.

Bernice - Lady in a Large Lavender Hat Framed Art
Bernice - Lady in a Large Lavender Hat Framed Art - Artist Proof
Bernice is a buxom brunette in a large lavender floppy hat. She might be wearing a deep yellow swimsuit or sundress. Bernice has a bright red scarf around her neck and is wearing matching red lipstick. There is a small beauty mark or mole above her right lip. The seller listed this serigraph as Woman with Hat in Contemporary Art (1950-Now).

This work was acquired from an eBay auction on June 17, 2002. The seller was smccollectibles in Agoura Hills, California who had a website I actually spoke with Carl at 818-878-0969 to confirm shipping information. [March 16, 2018: searching on eBay to find this seller, I see they are now known as 99$-fineart.]

I had this professionally framed soon after the acquisition. I picked the bold and vivid red matting to complement the colors of lavender, yellow, and red. I get a lot of compliments on this work of art and would sure love to know who painted it!

I have tried over the years to find more information about Bernice online, with no luck. Take a look at the signature and see if you can identify it for me. Upon consultation with an online peep, we seem to think that this signature looks like it could be "June Bug." That obviously wouldn't very likely be the actual name of the artist. But, we might be on the right track. Let us know what you think.

Artist Signature - Bernice - Lady in a Large Lavender Hat Framed Art
Artist Signature - Bernice - Lady in a Large Lavender Hat Framed Art
Please let me know if you know of this work or this artist. I'd also love to know more about Bernice!

Who is Bernice?

P.S. Searching around Google to see if there is a real-life Bernice who could have been the subject of this art, we came upon Bernice de Pasquali. Her real name was Bernice James. She was a soprano opera singer from Boston, Massachusetts. You can find a little information about her from Forgotten Opera Singers. The Project Gutenberg eBook of Great Singers on the Art of Singing has a tribute to her along with a photo that surely looks like she could have been the subject of this art. Also check the photo for Bernice on her find a grave listing, December 7, 1873 - April 3, 1925.

Welcome to the Bernice Art Club!

September 4, 2015 : Today I found a number of hidden "other" private messages on Facebook and took time to scan each of them to see what was spam and what were legitimate messages. I came upon one from a fellow art collector, Chet Yoakum from Gulfport, Florida. Like me, Chet is retired, has good taste in art, and also acquired Bernice from an eBay auction listing! It is a good bet that we got it from the same seller.

Chet sent me a private message on June 14, 2014, "Good Morning: Are you the Julie that was trying to track down the name of the artist that painted BERNICE, the lady in the floppy purple hat? Thanks, Chet Yoakum in Tampa." Gosh, it only took me a year and 3 months to find his PM and respond. Thanks Facebook!!

Bernice - Lady in a Large Lavender Hat Framed Art
Bernice - Lady in a Large Lavender Hat Framed Art
Art Print owned by Chet Yoakum
I asked Chet for permission to share his info and also the photo of how he framed his Bernice. What's interesting is that his signed copy of Bernice states that it is also an "Artist Proof." I love how he used a bold yellow mat with the bright red framing the art print. I opted for the bright, bold red for my matting as you can see up above.

Chet found me on Facebook in his search to find the artist who painted Bernice. He didn't know who the artist is, much like I don't know who the artist is. However! The two of us have now found each other and wonder how many other art collectors out there bought this artist proof from an eBay seller all those years ago ... and wanted to know who painted Bernice?? The mystery continues to this very day!