Monday, August 29, 2011

A Stevan Dohanos Painting Mystery

Famed Lorain-born artist Stevan Dohanos, nationally known for painting more than one hundred Saturday Evening Post magazine covers, sometimes featured Lorain settings in his compositions – including the house in the cover shown above. The painting – known as "Star Pitcher" – ran on the cover of the July 20, 1946 issue.

Dennis Lamont had alerted me that a copy of the magazine was on Ebay, and I ended up buying it for a measly ten bucks. What I was hoping for was that inside the issue, the house's address would be identified. When I saw this (below) I was pretty excited.

Unfortunately, it doesn't say where the house was in Lorain. So I hit the newspaper microfilm at the Lorain Public Library from that period of time, reasoning there would be an article with a photo of the grinning owners in front of the house, holding a copy of the Post. I looked at film from well before and after the issue date – with no such luck.

I also had no success going through clippings in the Library's Special Collection files, as well as the Albert Doane Collection. I also checked the files down at the Black River Historical Society and came back empty-handed.

I driven around a lot of old neighborhoods in Lorain, including the old Charleston historic area, near the old St. Joe's, near parks (remember – Mr. Dohanos needed a spot from where he could sketch the house), and others.

I've even driven around one of Stevan Dohanos' old neighborhoods (in South Lorain), looking for a house with that distinctive single window on the second floor and unique porch. All I got for my effort was a bunch of suspicious looks from people sitting on their front porches. (I'm lucky they didn't call the cops.)

Anyway, I'm putting out the call for help. Does anyone recognize this house?


Lisa said...

Hi Dan! Linked you up over at the House to spread the word. Could he have just sat on the curb across the street from a random house and sketched it? Thought for sure you would have found it somewhere in the East 30's. I can only imagine how many renovations it has endured - if it still stands. When/if you find it, I hope that someone had the good sense to preserve the gingerbread.

Dan Brady said...

Thanks, Lisa! You're right about the East 30's, I cruised around there for quite a while--maybe I should have brought the spouse to drive while I looked!

I have this strange feeling it's still out there, looking very much the same!

If I ever get time, I'll go back to the microfilm from that time period in case I missed a tiny blurb about it!

Lisa said...

I tried to look at the houses this morning on my trip down Washington Avenue but you're right - driving and looking is definitely a two person job!