1970s Vintage John Fulton Short Boy Matador With Newspaper Oil Painting
This is a rare piece of original art by John Fulton Short. Fulton was the 1st American to be recognized ...
moreThis is a rare piece of original art by John Fulton Short. Fulton was the 1st American to be recognized as a Matador in Spain. He fought his last bull at 60 years old He painted many single pigment paintings in bull's blood. He really is like the most interesting man in the world and if you like I have attached his obituary. This is an oil on board that measures 35" by 26" framed. This young lad, perhaps a self portrait is pretending to fight a bull and is holding the paper out as if luring and dodging the bull. The painting capture the boys fantasy to perfection. The colors are great and the painting itself is in excellent condition with no damage or repairs. The image measures 32 3/4" by 23 1/2" this painting is circa 1970's. I acquired it from an art collector who was downsizing and it has been in her collection for over 30 years and she got it second hand at an estate sale.
John Fulton, a Philadelphia-born artist who worked with cape and sword in the bullrings of Spain, then celebrated his momentary masterpieces of ritual death by painting pictures of the very bulls he had slain using their own blood, died on Friday in a hospital near his home in Seville. He was 65, and had been the first American to qualify as a matador in Spain.
Friends said the cause was a heart attack.
In more than 40 years as a professional bullfighter, Mr. Fulton was never more than a competent journeyman. But he had his moments, winning grudging respect in Spain and becoming a cult hero to a coterie of American fans.
As an American, and one too poor to bribe his way into the tight circle of sometimes corrupt breeders and promoters who controlled Spanish bullfighting, Mr. Fulton was more than an anomaly.
A few other Americans, including the Brooklyn-born Sydney Franklin, had fought bulls in Spain as early as the 1930's, but Mr. Fulton was the first to be elevated and confirmed as a matador in Spain. He had to endure years of fighting lesser bulls, though, often without pay, in remote arenas before he became a full matador in 1963, a decade after he had killed his first bull in Mexico.
Even then he had trouble getting fights with good bulls in top arenas. He apparently never thought of giving up, but then Mr. Fulton was first and last an artist -- and to him bullfighting was pure art.
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''It is the most difficult art form in the world,'' he once said. ''You are required to create a work of art spontaneously with a semi-unknown medium, which can kill you, in front of one of the most critical audiences around. And it all leaves only a memory.''
But, he said, it involves an exquisite exhilaration that peaks at the moment the sword is plunged into the bull's heart but that lingers long after the climactic kill: ''The skies look bluer, the birds sound better, the food tastes better, the wine is better, friendships deepen.''
Mr. Fulton pursued his obsession with such single-minded determination it is tempting to wonder what might have become of him if as a child living in a Philadelphia row house he had not seen ''Blood and Sand,'' the movie starring Rita Hayworth and Tyrone Power as a doomed bullfighter.
He was 12 when he saw it, the son of a Hungarian-born mother and an Italian house painter who changed his name from Schoccitti to Short. (Mr. Fulton, whose given name was Fulton John, dropped the Short when he discovered Spaniards could not pronounce it and reversed his first and middle names.)
The movie so stirred his sense of gallantry and romance that he decided on the spot to become a bullfighter. If a Rita Hayworth was the reward, he told friends years later, it was worth the effort and the risk.
In keeping with matador tradition, Mr. Fulton did have his share of romantic conquests. But he never married, apparently in deference to the Spanish-born high school sweetheart who broke his heart -- but not his spirit -- by marrying someone else.
By then Mr. Fulton had learned flamenco dancing, and, under the supervision of a bullfighting barber he met through his dance teacher, made his first mock passes using a barber's apron as a cape.
After a year at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, Mr. Fulton obtained a scholarship to an art school in San Miguel de Allende, which was also a Mexican bullfighting center, and used it to learn bullfighting.
During a two-year Army stint in San Antonio, he spent weekends fighting bulls in Mexican border towns. Then in 1956 he headed for Spain.
For all the obstacles he faced there, Mr. Fulton received his share of encouragement. Ernest Hemingway once slipped him a $100 traveler's check, and James A. Michener was so impressed he used Mr. Fulton as a guide while researching his 1968 book, ''Iberia,'' then devoted much of the book to Mr. Fulton.
He made so little from bullfighting he had to supplement his income. He sold art, including his blood paintings of bulls, served as the actor Peter O'Toole's double during the filming of ''Lawrence of Arabia,'' wrote a book, ''Bullfighting'' (Dial), and, more recently, worked as sort of celebrity bullfighting guide for package tours.
Although he could hardly make ends meet, Mr. Fulton became famous for his generosity and his hospitality. His large house in Seville became a social center and crash pad for aspiring matadors he tutored without pay, and he once became so distraught at the sight of a gypsy youngster living in squalor that he adopted the boy.
When Mr. Fulton returned to San Miguel in 1994 for his last kill at the age of 61, it was his son, Federico, who snipped off his father's ponytail, a traditional ritual for a matador's retirement.
Since then, Mr. Fulton had been working on his autobiography, a work the man who spent his life tilting at cultural windmills planned to call, ''The Memoirs of John Quixote.'' less
- 36ʺW × 2ʺD × 26ʺH
- Item Type
- Vintage, Antique or Pre-owned
- Good Condition, Original Condition Unaltered, Some Imperfections
- Condition Notes
- excellent condition the back paper has some tears in it. excellent condition the back paper has some tears in it. less
- Place of Origin
- Oil Paint
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Brian McNamee formerly Modmax in long Beach CA in San Mateo, CA
I have been an active collector, trader and creator of unusual and iconic furniture, art ...
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