Granville Redmond Rediscovered

So a couple of years ago Mrs. H and I were wandering through Westchester County in search of entertainment before it turned beer o'clock and found ourselves at the Katonah Museum of Art. The KMA, as its many aficionados call it, was having an exhibit whose title escapes me but was pretty close to Obscure American Impressionists.  One of the pictures on view was the work of Granville Redmond, whose name alone should have assured him a place in history.  Yet it turns out his claim to fame is far more extensive.  

Redmond was born in Philadelphia in 1871and lost his hearing to scarlet fever at the age of two. His wealthy parents--poor people couldn't afford to name their kids Granville in the brutal depression that followed the Civil War-- moved to California so he could take advantage of the California School for the Deaf, where his artistic talents were recognized and nurtured.

Malibu shoreline by Granville Redmond

Malibu shoreline by Granville Redmond

Redmond settled in Los Angeles, where he befriended Charlie Chaplin.  The Little Tramp was so taken by the beauty of signing--that's Chaplin signing to Redmond at the top of the post--that he recruited the painter as a member of his acting troupe.  The painter appeared in eight of Chaplin's movies.  In a brutal irony, his film career was ended by the advent of the talkies.