Attributed to Jonathan Orne Johnson Frost (American, 1852-1928)
Always Ready to Lay Down Their Lives for Others. Unsigned, identified by label affixed to reverse, depicting two Marblehead, Massachusetts fire companies. Oil on paperboard, 8 1/2 x 67 in., framed. Condition: Stable crack to paperboard, a few very minor abrasions.
N.B. A native of Marblehead, Massachusetts, Frost began to paint in 1922 at age 70 with the idea of preserving the history of the town in which he had spent his entire life as a fisherman, carpenter, and gardener. In the six years before his death, he produced 130 paintings. His paintings are often labeled and captioned, as the fire engines are identified here, for events and landmarks, with the purpose of educating viewers. Frost never managed to sell his paintings, and it was only in 1938 and 1940 that exhibitions of his work by the Marblehead Historical Society drew attention to the artist. A Smithsonian exhibition commenced institutional collection and exhibition of Frost as an important American folk painter in 1953. A label affixed to the reverse reads "Two Marblehead Fire Companies by Jonathan Orne Frost purchased from Chas. D Childs by H.F.A. circa 1959."