The painting Nymphs and Satyr by William-Adolphe Bouguereau has long played an important part in the iconography of Erosblog, so you may imagine my delight when I encountered the following rendition of it in a detail of a print of a newspaper cartoon at the “Museum Confidential” exhibit of the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa Oklahoma, which museum I visited in the company of The Nymph and my good friend Dr. Faustus not so long ago. You’ll recognize the painting at once, I think:

Rendition of Nymphs and Satyrs by E.A. Filleau of Kansas City MO

Zooming out just a bit, here it is in the cartoonist’s imagined museum presentation:

framed cartoon version of nymphs and satyrs

The cartoon itself is quite deliciously meta, featuring a weary walker who just can’t seem to find that scenic spot, a sentiment with which I am in ultimate sympathy:

weary walker viewing Nymphs and Satyrs

The above is a crop from my cell phone photograph of a print under glass below harsh museum lights, so it’s not an ideal reproduction. Both above and in the uncropped version, there are bright lights reflecting from the glass. With a little looking I was able to find an online scan of a slightly different edition of the print, showing somewhat less detail, but also with fewer visual artifacts; that’s here.

This print is titled “Weary Walker At Art Exibit.” The artist is F.A. Filleau of Kansas City, Missouri; and the caption reads:

I’ve traveled the world over and tramped every spot on the map, but I’m damned if I can locate that brook.

Above, I referred to it as “a print of a newspaper cartoon” and my reason for doing so is a reference in a book called Peoria Stories (apropos a Nymphs and Satyrs copy purchased by a Peoria showman). Referencing the original Bouguereau artwork, the book discusses the period when the painting hung in the Hoffman House hotel in New York, and claims:

The painting gained even more popularity when it was caricatured in the local papers. The drawing depicts the work hanging in an art gallery as a man named “Weary Walker” stares longingly at the nymphs by the running water. “I’ve traveled the world over and tramped every spot on the map”, he muses, “but I be dammed [sic] if I can’t locate that brook.”

The minor differences in grammar, spelling, and captioning between the print exhibited at the Philbrook and the newspaper cartoon described in Peoria Stories makes me suspect that the print was a later publication, capitalizing on the popularity of the newspaper cartoon, and probably redrawn with improved artistry. If anybody who is a wizard with newspaper archives can turn up a copy of the original cartoon, you would surely earn a post and a place of honor in ErosBlog iconographic history!

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