1920s Nicaraguan Painting of Managua Cove | Military Provenance
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Here we have a 1920s oil on board painting of a Nicaraguan cove with rare provenance from the Guardia Nacional De Nicaragua (National Guard). Ok, let's start with the WPA folk art style of the panoramic painting, then we'll get to all the unreal provenance. Two words: The Trees. I cannot stop looking at trees on the edges. The haunting naivety hooks me in a millisecond, every time. The depth of the darkness....I'll take all you got. And the middle is nothing to balk at. Again, the naivety of the sailboat strokes, and two perfectly next to each other. And the entire seen is covered in old lacquer, giving it a perfect tone.
Ok. The provenance. Get ready for a tale. Let's start with the artist.
The painting is signed D. Marben, and on the reverse it states the following:
Darrell Marben, Lamburtan, Min.
Here's a brief bio on his obituary page.
Darrell Marben was born on April 25, 1909. He died in June 1971 at 62 years of age. We know that Darrell Marben had been residing in Lamberton, Redwood County, Minnesota 56152.
He married his wife in 1934 in Lamberton, which is important for the next part of the provenance.
So the rest of the provenance on the reverse.
In the upper left corner, it states the following:
(illegible) Richard, 8 (covered) Guardia Nacional De Nicaragua Managua, Nicaragua Central America
Here's the information on the Guardia Nacional of Nicaragua, courtesy of Wikipedia.
Prior to the U.S. occupation, the long period of civil strife had encouraged the development of a variety of private armies. The freshly elected government of President Carlos José Solórzano requested that the U.S. Marines (equally interested in central control) remain in Nicaragua until an indigenous internal security force could be trained; for that effect, the Nicaraguan government hired in 1925 a retired U.S. General to help set up a new paramilitary gendarmerie force, titled the Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua (National Guard of Nicaragua). That same year, U.S. forces left the country, but after a civil war broke out, they returned in 1926 and took over the command (and training) of the National Guard from 1927 to 1933, when it was returned to Nicaraguan control under the government of President Juan Bautista Sacasa.
President Sacasa, under political pressure from José María Moncada, who had been the leader of a rebel faction which later joined the government after U.S. mediation efforts, appointed Anastasio Somoza García as Chief Director of the National Guard in 1925. Besides being a nephew of Sacasa, Somoza Garcia was a trusted friend of Moncada and a supporter of the liberal revolt. He was trusted by the Americans due to his service as a translator to Henry Stimson during the 1927 peace conference, schooling in the U.S., and training under the U.S. Marines (apparently, as an officer in the National Guard).
So Mr. Marben was stationed there sometime between 1925 and 1933, because he married his wife in Lamburten in 1934. And he was surrounded by some intense political world history. And amongst it all, he painted a cove in Managua. Love the painting and the amazing story behind it.
The rare unframed oil on board measures 24" wide by 12" tall. There are minor losses along the edges. There is also a bend in the bottom left corner (see pic). There is also evidence of a thin frame along the edges. It needs to be framed again. Please see all pics as they are part of the description.
I ship FedEx to street addresses in the continental USA only (no PO boxes). Free shipping on this amazing piece of history.
This is what it's all about....pointing at a painting on your wall and saying "Have I got a historical story to tell you."