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Old 04-30-2016, 12:40 PM
JCannon JCannon is online now
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A "medium" of a very different kind

I should probably post this to another forum, but I'm comfortable here among the oil painters. I'd like to know if anyone here has heard of a painter of the 1920s named Maude Roose -- who had a gimmick like no other.

She was a young saleswoman in 1920s Detroit, with an interest in spiritualism. She decided to take up painting, so she enrolled in the Hayward art school. A mere five weeks later (!) she claimed to be channeling Raphael and other great masters, including “an Italian artist, long since gone from this world, who is trying to communicate with me, but as yet I have not learned his name.”

Raphael allegedly used her hands to execute several religious paintings which he had intended to complete before his untimely death at the age of 37.

Maude's teacher confirmed to reporters that she had no previous training. But he felt that she was "inspired." The original news stories about Maude can be found here.

One reason why I'm bringing this up here is that I can see no evidence that any of her paintings have survived. The only indication we have of the quality of her work is this photo. The portrait of Christ seems to have mightily impressed her teacher; the other is a WIP.



Now, I think we can all agree that this woman was NOT channeling Raphael. And she certainly is not painting in the layered style of the Renaissance. On a technical level, her approach is pretty much what you would expect from someone trained in Detroit in the 1920s.

Nevertheless, I think that she was pretty damned good for someone who had been painting for only five weeks. Her drawing is confident and her proportions seem correct. I'm curious to learn if others here would agree with that assessment.

She gave some lectures on Spiritualism the next year, and then seemed to disappear entirely.

Does anyone here know anything else about her? I'd like to know if she continued to present herself as a medium for Raphael and other masters, or if she gave up that gimmick and painted as herself.

Last edited by JCannon : 04-30-2016 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 04-30-2016, 01:12 PM
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KerryOriginals KerryOriginals is offline
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Re: A "medium" of a very different kind

I don't personally believe in the miraculous spirit channeling, I do think 5 weeks is not enough time to become that proficient, however, if she only started oil painting during that time, but was already very proficient in drawing...perhaps self-taught, then yes - she could have produced that quality of work.
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Old 04-30-2016, 03:42 PM
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ianuk ianuk is offline
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Re: A "medium" of a very different kind

Painting is not as difficult as some make it out to be if one has a basic ability and willing to challenge themselves. I don't view her work as being overly impressive and five weeks is a long time to practice if one puts in the hours.

As for her spiritual guidance from old masters, if that's what she believed, who am I to deny her faith.

Last edited by ianuk : 04-30-2016 at 03:44 PM.

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