Edward M Plunkett “Lyda Borelli In ‘Torment’ ” 1959 SOLD P1297

The Curious Case of Edward M Plunkett, or how to define this charming obsessive? Coming to New York in the 50s, like many young men he decided to remake himself into an artist and a man-about-town. Where his preoccupations and predilections landed him was somewhere between Edward Gorey (whose work his most closely resembles) and Florine Stettheimer, with a touch of the New Yorker’s Mary Petty. An uncertain draughtsman, this Michigander schooled himself diligently to successfully depict imaginary recreations of a time and milieu that obsessed him, which was the dawning of the age of the movies and the first flowering of the twentieth century before the Great War cut it short. A fantasy world. And it is his devotion to it that invests his work with the considerable charm it possesses. He believes. Therefore it truly lives. He is a classic naif, a social-climber folk-artist, an outsider’s outsider, a self-enchanter.

This scene (and someone is definitely making one) is terribly amusing. At a rather swank movie theater, the clientele in evening dress,  it looks like the film is being projected out of register, and a lady, looking very like the star of the film (it must be her!) has risen in her seat to complain to the projectionist. Her companion is urging her to sit down, but Lyda is, indeed, “In Torment”! The motto on the proscenium, “Fiat Lux”, means Let There Be Light. Pretty delish.

Framed, bearing the label of his gallery, the David Herbert Gallery, on the back, 22 1/12″ x 15 1/2″. Ink and watercolor.

Price on request.

Lyda Borelli was born on March 22, 1884 in Rivarolo Ligure, Genoa, Liguria, Italy. Daughter of stage actor Napoleone Borelli. She was an actress, known for Satan’s Rhapsody (1917), Love Everlasting (1913) and Malombra (1917).  In 1918 she stopped acting and married the Venetian businessman Giorgio Cini. Their son Giorgio Cini Jr. died in a plane crash while going to meet the actress Merle Oberon to whom he was engaged. Lyda Borelli died on June 1, 1959 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.


Edward M. Plunkett born in 1922 in Highland Park, Michigan. Comes to New York in 1949 for graduate studies at The Institute of Fine Arts and then continues at the
Sorbonne in Paris, subsequently attending the University of Chicago and the School of the Chicago Art Institute.
In 1952, Plunkett began as a lecturer in Art History at The City College of New York and later taught at The Chicago Art Institute. In 1970, he gave a course on The History of Motion Pictures at the Philadelphia College of Art. His paintings have been exhibited at The Whitney Museum in New York, museums in Holland, Switzerland and Le Musee de l’Art Moderne in Paris. His work is found in numerous collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.