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Peter Huson would like to know the following:
"This photo was taken of 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron R.A.F. personnel in the early years of WW2 either in Kenya or Tanganyika. Can anyone please help with the identification of the make of the vehicle they are driving?"
Editor: Looks like they have lots of fun with their rundown tourer. The side covered with text (Rhodes... and more) that could be added to the history and 'palmares of the car. Headlights, windshield and more are missing. It has seen places! Interesting to see the badges(?) they hammered on the radiator cowl. Being straight cut the radiator has a Lancia look, yet the toptank seems too low and the overall look plus wheels look US made to us, or is it just Fiat 525? Over to you car connaisseurs, sleuths and detectives.
A little research of histroy won't hurt in these dark December days. Mr. 'Pugrider' (editor: is he driving this 1907 Speedster? Wow, we envy him!) reports:
"While researching another Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec image I came across this one entitled L'Automobiliste (The Motorist). The driver is Lautrec's cousin, Gabriel Tapié de Céleyran. He and Paul Guibert (a close friend of Lautrec's) were among the first automobile drivers in Paris. Lautrec drew the image in 1898 and made it into a Lithograph (20-25 total made) to give as gifts. In typical Lautrec fashion, rather than featuring the automobile he focused on the face of his cousin, one of the earliest depictions of the "need for speed" that would define the automotive age. In the background he has a woman calmly walking her dog, ignoring the new contraption belching smoke and likely making a terrible racket.
Thirteen of the original lithographs are in public museum collections, including MOMA, the Smithsonian National Gallery of Art and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. All well and good, but when I went to find a print - nada. And the search began...
As I searched commercial sites for a print of L'Automobiliste By Henri De Toulouse Lautrec all I could find was a small art card on eBay being sold in England. With no other leads I emailed him and asked if he knew of anyone who was selling a larger print. He checked with a friend, who said he did not have it in his inventory. I told him the original sketch was larger than most of Lautrec's drawings (14x10"), and was detailed enough to warrant a larger printing (likely why he made it into a lithograph). Jonah (the print shop owner) and I worked together, and he confirmed it was one of the most difficult images to locate given the popularity of Lautrec's work. He obtained rights to a high definition scan of the work, and agreed to print it on a sepia background at the largest size his printer was capable of making. He decided to send me the resulting print as a thanks for aiding his search for the image. The final print ended up 36x48", and is amazing. I had it framed and it now hangs in the hallway outside my office downstairs, the only wall space with proper lighting where it would fit. The image is now available on Jonah's web site for peanuts. So there you have it, my contribution to the world of art."
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