While I usually honor consistent and sustained artistic success, today I give the stage to ART’S BAD BOY Paul Blaine Henrie. This late 20th-century boat artist was a Florida native who shifted to the left coast (California) as an adult, first to Laguna Beach in the south, then to Carmel in the north.
Not only did he use two different names (before 1961, Paul Henrie or Blaine; afterwards, Paul Blaine Henrie) but also two main media, watercolor and knife-applied oil! His frequent subject was coastal scenes of California but also included art tours to New Orleans, Tahiti, and Mexico. (It seems numerous paintings of his were reproduced by serigraph as well, which is a high-quality print.)
This man was openly eager to produce–in mass quantities!–whatever the public would buy. The motive he gave for painting several canvases a day was a love of the high life that came at a high price. So his lasting infamy. On the other hand, he did produce work of which he was proud–if only for celebrity collectors and up-scale gallerists.
His broader interests extended to illustrating two books for young adults, Legendary outlaws of the West and Legendary Women of the West; and he wrote an instructional book, Painting in the South Seas ( Walter T Foster publisher, “How To Draw” Book #88). His rough style and strong compositions endeared him to the public.
From these heights he then plunged into art forgery on a fantastic scale although the case against him (lacking today’s high-tech methods) fell short of a satisfying conclusion. He probably created more than thirty artworks supposedly by Joan Miro and sold them to a Mexican art gallery for what was then a great fortune. But Henrie was found guilty of only one instance of forgery in the case.
One art dealer online seems to hold his work in depth, a place to go if you want to look at more Henrie. His life illustrates the moral hazards of having great talent and energy but a lack of balance.
Finally for those who would like to see an example of his watercolor style, here is one I found.