Grass Skirt, Hawaii (Pair). Sketch, 15 x 11.25 inches. Aquatint, 19 x 14.5 inches. Two separate images, one the preliminary drawing for the print. Both pieces are archivally framed in superb premium Koa wood frame, ready to hang.
“Owing to the delicacy of the image and appealing wistfulness of the young woman, as well as its distribution as a gift print, this work is one of Kelly’s best known.”
-Natasha Drucker, “John Melville Kelly: Hawaiian Idyll”
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Born in Oakland, CA on Nov. 2, 1879, John Kelly began his art studies at the Mark Hopkins Institute and Partington Art School. He worked for 14 years as an illustrator for the San Francisco Examiner before he and his wife, sculptor Kate Kelly, moved to Hawaii in 1923. The original plan was to stay for a year, but they fell in love with the islands and the people and stayed. Kelly produced numerous etchings and aquatints with Hawaii as a subject, primarily of human figures. He authored and illustrated “Etchings and Drawings of Hawaiians” in 1943, and “The Hula as Seen in Hawaii” in 1955. John Melville Kelly died in Honolulu in 1962.