RSS Feed

The Great Phil Brinkman

I found this great old print by Phil Brinkman of my favorite city San Francisco. I had this stored in our closet and decided I love the imagery of it and I want to make sure it sees the light of day.Here are some images of this piece.

I love the image of the cable car.

It appears that this is supposed to be a portrait of SF from sometime in the 40's. (The style of the cars lead me to think this)

I wasn’t familiar with Mr.Brinkman so I decided to look him up. We have soo many pieces of artwork and I buy it because I like it not because who drew it, so sometimes it is nice to slow down and research the artist.

Mr. Brinkman got his start as a professional artist right after art school with Ruth Ruff Ryan agency and then later moved to Benton Bowles agency. He was home in St. Louis working with the Gardner Advertising Agency in the early 40’s when he signed up to join the Army Air Corps in 1942.

Here he is in England in 1944

Phil came into the Air Corps with his paint box. He was assigned to Special Services; his military occupational specialty was designated as Draftsman as there was not a category for artist. His early art assignments included lettering the CO’s name on the door as well as other base signage. In 1943 he was stationed at Davis-Monthan Field in Tuscon, Arizona. Phil did his first mural here in the Service Men’s Club. The mural, which covered the walls of a room 36 by 90 feet, depicted the history of flight beginning with the fall of Icarus, and covered the early pioneers in aviation and their planes through the modern B-24. Included in the mural were portraits of the aviators and text scrolls, which gave a detailed history of the men and the aircraft. The mural was used as a teaching aide on base as well. While Phil was stationed at Davis-Monthan, the commander of the 834th Bomb Squadron (Heavy), Winfred “Jip” Howell saw this mural. The two worked together to come up with a theme for the groups B-24’s, twelve planes needing distinctive markings. The idea for the Fighting Zodiacs was born. Phil was transferred to the 486th and soon found he was on his way to England.

Here is Phil painting one of his Zodiac nose arts.

In 1944 Phil was stationed at Army Air Force Station 174, Sudbury, Suffolk, England. Phil had been working on the nose art for the planes as well as doing murals on the base. In addition to the Zodiac’s he did other nose art pieces. Unfortunately, none of these original panels exist today, but there are photographs of many of these paintings documented in Nose Art books.

After the war Phil returned to St. Louis but only briefly. He decided to put his money together and buy a boat in Florida. He moved to the Tampa area where he worked as an illustrator. He eventually traveled with another friend from St. Louis and went south to Palm Beach. He lived on his boat while taking his art portfolio to agencies trying to find work in the commercial field. He ended up doing murals again, and once again many of these works gave a history of the area. He spent a great deal of time in local library researching his topics. In 1951 he married Carmen Catlett of Louisville and they made their home in the Coconut Grove area. They raised 3 children. Phil continued to paint murals throughout South Florida and worked closely with decorator Homer Shrewsberry. Phil also painted extensively in the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. His jobs were primarily murals yet he also was well known for his portrayal of wildlife and game fish. His first love was watercolor. His Bahamian watercolors were unique and most often he preferred to work on site when doing his smaller paintings. He never considered himself a portrait artist, yet many of his finest works were portraits. His paintings and murals can be found throughout the eastern United States.

In his later years he came down off the scaffolding and focused on paintings that could be done in his studio. He moved to Englewood, Florida in 1989 and was active in the local art scene on the Gulf Coast. He died in Gainesville, Florida where he lived with his daughter’s family in May of 2000.

Source:

http://www.philbrinkman.com/phil-brinkman-biography.htm

I remember when I was in the Air Force and stationed at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota I knew a guy by the name of Steve Barba. We were both crew chiefs and became good friends while I was in and he was an artist as well. He painted the nose arts on all the B-1 bombers (bones) in the 37th Bomb Squadron . He had such a great ability with his airbrush. When I read about Mr. Brinkman it reminds me of my time in the service and the great people like Steve that I had the privilege to know. When you read about Mr.Brinkman you cant help but feel he had a full and fruitful life. As an artist myself I can only imagine how great it must have been to join the service as an artist…WOW!

Advertisements

20 responses »

  1. Great story! Thanks so much for sharing. Another unsung and under recognized piece of Americana!

    Like

    Reply
  2. Oh, I’m in LUUUV! These are gorgeous, and you’ve had them hiding in the CLOSET?! LOVE the San Fran one’s. In fact I think that first one would look spectacular in my new TEAL dining room, don’t you ;- )

    Very nice commentary on a very talented man.

    ~Vic~

    Like

    Reply
    • I’ll keep that in mind if I decide to sell it. I have fallen in love with it all over again. Thanks for your comment Vic!

      Like

      Reply
      • Hi I actually have the same San Francisco print but looks visibly different, colors are a little different paper appears to be textured and there are some other differences. For example the pedestrians feet are fully visible etc. There is no Copyright C anywhere to be seen and the signature looks to be painted on. It measures approx. 12×30 it is also in what looks like the original frame which is glass faced, what is the size of yours?

        Like

  3. How weird, we just purchased the Brinkman painting of New Orleans pictured at the bottom of your post from a seller on Esty, and here pops up this post! Did you ever own this piece? Was great to read about the artists background looking forward to owning some of his work.

    T + J.
    UK.

    Like

    Reply
    • Hello T+J,

      I actually found the pictures of this piece on Esty so I am sure it is the one you purchased. Thanks soo much for your comment.

      Like

      Reply
    • Baileywyck, Connecticut

      OK, I can add to the Brinkman 2012 Karma — I was helping my local theatre clear out its attic yesterday. They purged a lot of the “art” they had in the props dept. Among the things they tossed was the Brinkman silk screen of New Orleans, in its original frame!
      They tossed it because the frame had gone wonky, but the image is in excellent condition. It really spoke to me, so I brought it home to repair and hang in our Mad Men-inspired living room. I’m thrilled to have it!

      Like

      Reply
  4. Does anyone know if any of these San Fransisco paintings worth anything?

    Like

    Reply
  5. I have one, that is similar, to the second from the bottom and it is beautiful. It is longer and finishes out the side street. I bartered for it and would also like to know it’s value.

    Like

    Reply
    • To be honest with you his works are so rare that it is hard to say a value. I have only seen mine, the Louisianan one I blogged about and now I have heard of yours. I would guestimate they are worth right around $150-$200.

      Like

      Reply
  6. I was cleaning out our storage bldg. and came across two 5 ft. x 2.5 ft.Phil Brinkman paintings on canvas, soft glued to a piece of paneling .The subject matter is ST. Andrews Scottland in the year 1411 .playing golf with someone playing the bagpipes .a castle is in the background. both paintings are done in the same style but only one is signed .

    Like

    Reply
  7. I picked up a small painting by Brinkman of a seal about to catch some fish in the air. there is also Holley behind the seal. It says on the back “by Philip Brinkman, Christmas 1936”

    Like

    Reply
  8. i have 2 prints of the bahamas by phil brinkman, signed and dated ’60 and ’61. have had them since the 60’s, framed and under glass. but i notice a little circle by the signature with a ‘c’ inside it. is that an authentication of some type, or a notice of copyright? anyway, they are great!

    Like

    Reply
    • Hey Glen,
      Lucky you, his works are not very common. I have only seen his works a handful of times. I believe that symbol means its copyrighted. That means it is a print and not an original. I think the one I own has the same symbol. Let me know if you ever want to adopt them out. Cheers!

      Like

      Reply
  9. Olivia V Dorsett

    I have two of his pieces in my dad’s house. They’re not paintings though.

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: