Friday, 17 October 2014

Pearce Bates: K.C. Pearce and Bob Bates

K.C. Pearce and Bob Bates
also known as
Pearce Bates 

(American printmakers couple) 


Going through some portfolios with prints to decide which may go and which may stay(*) I found this nice Pearce Bates (sparrow and swallows) print which I simply had forgotten. A fine  opportunity to try to find out some more about this printmaker on a rainy day.



Excavating the internet, other sources and my archive files for more examples I found this rather strange and seemingly incoherent collection of prints and styles but hardly anything personal about the makers. 




So here're all the examples I could find an scratch together. To be honest, some pictures I've pimped in Photoshop because they were either very small (auction house pay-site thumbnails: do you hate those as much as I do ?) or very  perspectively distorted. 


Pearce Bates in reality proofed to be two artists: K.C. Pearce (Mrs. Bates)  and Bob Bates working together, not only as a a couple but also as printmakers. Educated and trained in the 1930's and still working in the 1970's is all I was able to discover so far: hardly anything about their lives and careers. No dates or places and not even where the  initials K.C. might be standing for. 


Bob Bates had been a bird decoy woodcarver and both had been working in the advertising, magazine and newspaper illustration world. They choose to go their own way, flying their own plane and living in the woods in Dillsburg Pensylvania (USA) dedicated to producing graphic art. 



So maybe with the help of readers we can fill in and color the lives and careers of this American couple and joined printmaking venture. I particularly like these amusing titmouse (or is it a nuthatch or just a phantasy bird ?) 



The prints they've created reflect their personal interests in music (jazz), dogs (Irish water spaniels), traveling, flying and sailing. Their work is collected by  private collectors around the world as well in institutional collections like the Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art and the Microsoft Art Collection







(*) As of today the narrowing down my collection to prints made by German Women Printmakers born 1860-1900 and active until WW2, has priority, preferably by swapping. So if you have any prints by this particular group and your focus of collecting or interests lies elsewhere you are invited to contact me.  



All pictures borrowed freely from the Internet for friendly, educational and non commercial use only.                

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for the introduction to this printmaking couple. Presumably they both worked on each, or some at least, of the prints, with one preparing the image and the other doing the printing?

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    1. Hello Margaret, thank you for commenting. I have really no idea how they worked together. I have hopes readers might know and share the information here.

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  2. Pearce and Bob Bates were neighbors in Dillsburg PA of my maternal Grandfather Herbert Kendrick. Pearce drew the sketches, Bob carved them, Bob and my grandfather printed them, and my grandfather hit the road in the ‘60s and ‘70s to sell them to art shops in the eastern US.

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  3. Very glad to read that their work is still being enjoyed.

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    1. Thank you Harry for stopping by and sharing this extra information on these artists and their companion.

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  4. Bob Bates was my cousin. He was born in 1913 and died May 23, 1991 of heart disease complicated by cancer. His widow, Elva Bates but better known as K.C. Bates, passed on a few years later. They met with both were students at Baltimore School of Art and that would have been in the late 1920's. They had no children. When I first met my cousin, he was working for a Harrisburg Newspaper, if I recall properly the Harrisburg Patriot. He and his wife both drew ads for the paper. Later they went into t he print business and bought a property outside of Dillsburg, PA. They wanted to save the old farm house but found it was too far gone with termites so they tore it down but saved a wonderful stone wall that included a fire place. The studio/residence had plenty of natural light that both preferred. I have so much more I could write about both of them. Bob was my mentor, taught me about art, jazz, good writers especially those connected with the New Yorker magazine such as Sid Perelman, E.B. White etc. He also gave me my first ride in an airplane. More later if you wish.

    Hrb

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    1. Great ! Thank you for this contribution.

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  5. I recently purchased a print "The Hot Line" 19/50 and signed by Pearce Bates. I have not been able to find another print like it. Would you have any info.

    TLR

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  6. I just purchased two Pearce Bates Wood cut Prints and I am in love with both of them. One is an artist proof called Naturally and one is 4/50 feathered friends. I would love to post pictures so you can add to your other pictures. Lmk They were very talented and someone should publish something about them....

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  7. Maybe some-one will, some day. Maybe this posting will be helpfull. If you send me pictures I'll post them to share. Thanks ! (gerbrandcaspers@icloud.com)

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  8. I have a pair of wooden decoys, Mallards, which have labels on them stating that they were made by Pearce Bates - Harrisburg PA, prior to 19963. I heard somewhere that he made decoys for Abercrombie & Fitch. Looking to verify this.

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  9. I met Herb Kendrick in the very early 1980's and purchased quite a few Pearce*Bates prints of Irish Water Spaniels for resale. And then I became friends with Bob and KC. I loved visiting their home in Dillsburg and listening to the wonderful stories Bob had to tell. He did carve decoys for Abercrombie & Fitch, did wood block prints and printed many of KC's artworks. I still have many of their original prints and limited edition prints. Bob was quite an inventor and when I last visited with him, he was doing clay animation with jazz as well as inventing some kind of unique speaker. Thank you to the neighbor and cousin that found your blog.
    IWS PrintsNThings

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