If you don't remember this retro print of the crying boy then
you're either too young or you avoid all things tacky.
Mass produced prints by Giovanni Bragolin, real name Bruno Amadio.
There were a whole series of these prints known by a variety
of names: Crying, sad, big eyes, gypsy, tacky, haunted, ghostly, scarey, cursed
and dare I even say...rare.
So then, I bought this one in an Op Shop for the huge
price of $5.00 and that folks, is all it's worth.
One of a pair
These seemed to be painted in pairs, this one has a sister.
A crying girl in a reddish top / dress. It's my
While I don't like these prints, I'm on a mission to buy as
many different ones as I can (to save the world from
them, my small contribution).
I don't often find them in Op Shops, I'm pretty sure they're buried
in many landfill sites across our planet.
Not all mass produced retro prints are like these though.
I live for the day I find a Tretchikoff Blue Lady print or
any other Tretchikoff print for $5.00. I might even splash
out to pay a lot more.
Many mass produced prints are taken from an original
and well known painting and artist such as the Mona Lisa. I quite
like some of them and have a particular favourite that
hangs on our wall, painted by the nineteenth century Canadian
painter, Paul Peel.
Cursed, haunted, ghostly, evil and responsible for burning down houses?
In the UK in the 1980's a newspaper story did the rounds concerning
house fires, it seems that a fire fighter happened to mention that
these prints were often found intact in house fires.
As you can imagine that story produced a whole lot of other
stories; people confirming their houses caught fire but
their prints were untouched.
Sometime later someone had the prints tested and so the
story goes they were treated with some type of varnish that
repelled fire, plus the string on the back of the painting
would be the first thing to give way in a fire, causing the prints
to fall off the wall and be protected because they'd
fall face down.
The truth is much simpler.
These prints were mass produced and cheap. It isn't unreasonable
to assume they graced the walls of umpteen homes.
Just because x number of the same items don't burn in
all the homes that catch fire doesn't mean those items
After all, when the UK newspaper ran the stories they
decided to hold a bonfire and burn the prints if readers
wanted to send them in; over 2,000 were set alight and the
so called fire repellent varnish didn't seem to protect them.
"Art is anything you can get away with."
- Marshall McLuhan