Maplewood History: James Baare Turnbull – Internationally Known Artist Extraordinaire!!! – Part Three

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We have much to learn about the life of James Baare Turnbull and his wife who, so far, we only know as the sculptor, Peter Keep.  We know that he kept a studio at 2737A Sutton in Maplewood.  We don’t know where he lived.  We know that he moved to the state of New York in 1940 and later to Florida.

He may have painted hundreds of paintings.  I believe they each have enough value to attract attention when they are sold.  Perhaps we can find records of some of them in the archives of the art auction houses?  We can probably be notified when a painting or sculpture of his is offered for sale in an upcoming auction.

In the meantime my good friend, Sherman Shewmaker, has uncovered a trove of images of Turnbull’s art at the websites linked below.  Much thanks to him for these.

https://www.paintingtheamericanscene.com/turnbull-james

https://livingnewdeal.org/sites/post-office-mural-loading-cattle-jackson-mo/

https://www.history.navy.mil/content/history/nhhc/search.html?q=James+Turnbull&ts=false

For my file, I downloaded a lot of the images contained within those links.  I’ll attach some of the ones done during WWII but the reader will find much more information by connecting to those websites.  I predict connections to images of Turnbull’s art will keep showing up for years.  As for Peter Keep’s art, I haven’t found one image yet.  Keep your fingers crossed.

If you haven’t yet read Part One, you can link to it here.  Ditto for Part Two.

Turnbull was a combat artist who was along when General MacArthur returned to liberate the Phillipines in 1944.  Some of the paintings he did on that campaign leave no doubt that he saw action.  The paintings are in alphabetical order according to the title he gave them.  There is much more information about them on the Navy website above.

Air Attack.

Airfield at Lingayen, Luzon.

Ambulance Being Unloaded.

Amphibious Troop Movement.

Assault Landing.

Communications Center.

Coxswain at the Wheel.

Cubit to There Stature.

Drill for the Tumult.

Grateful Friends.

Hawaii Bound.

Lingayen Beachcombers.

Mercy Breasts the Tide.

Phillipine Forelosure.

River Traffic.

Shore Casualty.

Spirit of 1945.

Suicide in Pairs.

Supplies Are Landed.

The Emancipated.

The Mortars Come Ashore.

The Word From the Shore.

Troops Going Down Landing Nets.

Unidentified Landing Scene.

Voice of Liberation.

How is that for a healthy dose of Turnbull’s art?  There has to be a lot more out there.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, Happy Springtime!

Doug Houser      February 16, 2024

 

8 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for sharing this artwork. My father kept a journal during WWII and published a book. He was in the Pacific for 4 years. This brings that time to life.

  2. My first thought was almost like Peter’s. When did he have the time to do those paintings? How long did it take him to do each one? What was his process? Was he painting them from memory years later or was he painting them as they unfolded or from a photo that he worked off of? If he did those while the war was going on around him how many of them are there total. Looks like quite an large amount of paintings for anyone to produce. And I wonder how many of them he trashed because they were not to his liking. Pretty amazing to see the pictures.

    • Those are all good questions, Mark. He must have worked from photographs a lot. There is just no way he could have done many of the paintings while the events were occurring. One standout to me is the 4th one titled ” Amphibious Troop Movement.” Human beings are tough to represent. There he has done a good job of it even though most are foreshortened. We are lucky to find these images. Thanks again to Sherman Shewmaker.

  3. Doug,

    That is an impressive collection of his art. He did a good job in capturing the moment (always wonder when a combat artist has the opportunity to sit down and draw/sketch/paint). I am surprised you haven’t been able to pin down where he lived. Thank you for discovering this.

    • You are welcome, Peter. I’m sure my readers and I will turn up a lot more information on Jim Turnbull and his wife. It’s early in the game. Nice to hear from you.

  4. Doug, thank you for sharing, His art work is so moving, so much emotion in each scene, I really appreciate this glimpse into the art of Mr. Turnbull.

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