Friday, February 18, 2011

The Lovely Works of Fermin Rocker

Robin Hathaway posted on Monday about getting back to her writing after the hectic holiday season. As I was formatting her post I thought it would be even nicer with an illustration of a woman writing. There was no dearth of images on the web, most of them free for the taking, being long out of copyright. They ranged from the famous image of the Pompeiian girl with her stylus to the genre paintings done by the old Dutch and Italian masters to pen-and-ink sketches by Charles Dana Gibson. How I found them was by doing a Google Image search on "woman writing."

All of the famous old images were charming, but there was one in the Google image display that I'd never seen before. It was an oil painting called "Woman Writing," done almost in the style of Edward Hopper, but with livelier colors. "That one," I said to myself. "It would be perfect." I went straight to the web page that displayed it.

It was every bit as handsome as the thumbnail on the Google display. I was about to snag it and run off with it when I saw the accompanying caption: "All pages and graphics on this website are the property of Anthea Rocker. Pages, code or other content may not be redistributed or reproduced in any way, shape or form without the written permission of Anthea Rocker. Failure to do so is a violation of copyright laws."

So, okay. The lady would be annoyed if I stole her image. I can dig it. My sister was annoyed when some German guy stole her images, blew them up, and tried to sell them on the internet. But maybe she wouldn't mind if I gave her a credit and a link, right? Struggling artists can always use a little publicity. There was an email address on the page, and I dashed off a gushing note begging her to let me use her image on our blog. That was a week ago last Thursday.

After I fired off the note, I went back to the page to admire the image again. "Home" was one of the options. I clicked on it, and found to my embarrassment that the painter was not Anthea but a man named Fermin Rocker, and he painted about when Hopper was painting. Anthea Rocker is a relative who has control of these gorgeous paintings. Fermin Rocker could be a wildly famous artist and I would never know about it, because art history is not my field. (Though I know what I like when I see it. Ahem.)

Still, if this guy isn't famous he ought to be. Check out his work: See if you agree with me about the Woman Writing: I can't in good conscience copy them and drop them into the blog for you to admire,having been expressly forbidden to do so, but you really do want to see them. They are ravishing.

I still haven't heard from Ms. Rocker. Either she was taken aback by my impertinence or she rarely looks at her mail.

--Kate Gallison


  1. Hi Kate,
    I love his paintings too. I was just looking again at those very paintings that Anthea Rocker has warned us not to copy. I just love them!! I love that muted, mundane yet atmospheric style. Very nostalgic to me. So many of them are set in London where I was born and raised. He has a very interesting background of which you may have read. My parents have 2 or 3 watercolors of his which they acquired, rather than chose due to a rather convoluted family connection, which I won't bother you with. I hope they don't mess up and do something other than give them to me, which I wouldn't put past them...

  2. Hi Kate

    I hope you read this as it is a bit late. I don't remember receiving your email. The painting of the Woman Writing, unfortunately is sold. I can't remember exactly when. I'd be perfectly happy for you to use the image of the Woman Writing and give me a link. The copyright notice is just to protect my interests and had I seen your email I would have replied to it I think.

    My email address is the same as on the site, that is, and I would most certainly be happy to hear from you.
    With best wishes