John Kelly "Breadfruit Boy" Framed Greetings Aquatint
A bold, beautiful aquatint lithograph by the always admirable John Melville Kelly. "Breadfruit Boy" vibrantly displays a young man picking the fruit with little pig near his feet. Please read below for John Melville's personal account of the print. Unframed measures 7 1/4" W x 10" T. With new frame and matting measures 15" W x 18" T. Signed on left. Comes with original "Greetings" insert.
As written by John Melville Kelly in insert, "An aquatint in full color of a Hawaiian boy reaching for a Breadfruit. The beautiful Breadfruit tree is a common sight in the Hawaiian Islands. It is said that early Polynesians brought the first Breadfruit trees to Hawaii where they were planted at Kualoa. The fruit develops from the female flowers and is first green, later brown. This fruit is baked or boiled to make edible its sweet, starchy pulp, which sometime is pounded like poi. In Samoa the fruit is kept by burying it when the crop is large. A Hawaiian proverb states - "ua like oia me ka Ulu e hoohu ana i ka pilali- he has become a Breadfruit that oozes gum" - referring to a newly rich person."
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1878, John Melville Kelly and his wife, Katherine, a sculptor, went to Hawaii in 1923, for what they thought would be a year, to work with an advertising firm producing tourist promotional material. Kelly had an adventuresome career that included prizefighting and fourteen years of experience as a staff artist for the "San Francisco Examiner". The Kellys immediately identified with the native Hawaiians and became their champions in images and in print. Kelly was a master draftsman, whose etchings and aquatints include ravishing depictions of Polynesians. Although generally thought of as an artist of the human figure, Kelly also produced a significant number of beautiful images of the land.