Who is this mysterious unknown prolific artist that has paintings peppering the entire world, and why can’t I learn more about who Lert is?
My journey to find Lert began in June 2012.
Other owners of Lert paintings have slowly but steadily found my blog page. Some people comment. Some only write an email. Some share photos of their paintings. And I am thrilled when they do all three! Recently Anna in the Ukraine invited me to connect on Linkedin and I eagerly accepted.
And sometimes I get so busy with LIFE that I fail to timely share the wonderful photos of the latest Lert painting sitting in my inbox. Like these two gems Mike sent me in December! Mike said he acquired 3 Lert’s in Texas in 1999. He gave one to a very lucky friend and sent me these photos of the two he kept. I am especially fond of the little flock of chatty blue birds!
Some people are convinced their Lert painting is worth a good deal of money. But I doubt if I can get Antiques Roadshow to confirm that. Once in awhile someone asks me to announce their Lert is for sale. But most Lert owners are very excited to find other people who simply share their love for these painted treasures.
Is Lert a man or woman? I myself have one sweet bush bird on a branch painted over a small bed of leaves. The next few paintings that surfaced were similar birds. Now several lovely pairs of different owl species have emerged. So at first I leaned towards thinking Lert was a woman painter. Then an exotic painting of two smoking dark skin men arrived. Certainly not feminine energy there!
January 2013 I was happily surprised to learn about a painting that resides in Sweden. This one was large, 48″x38″, and this time I saw it was on canvas and lacking what I had come to consider the trademark “bed of leaves”. To date three canvas paintings have surfaced with similar scenes of living along a river. Oils take much longer to create than the little water color work I own.
As an artist myself I am guessing the inks and water colors on leaves came after Lert’s oil painting era. Painting on leaves was perhaps a pleasant unique niche that resonated with many people, allowing Lert to produce enough inventory to make a living. A large 18″x24″ ink drawing has also come to my attention and it was done over the bed of leaves – perhaps it was the artists transitional work from canvas to the prolific smaller birds on leaves.
Then one day a beautiful white domestic cat with green eyes was staring back at me. That was a fun one to see – so different from other works by Lert. I wondered if it had been a commissioned portrait. The cat had been framed and labeled in Angeles City Philippines! Was this a clue to origin or merely where the cat art was framed? Again the mid 1970’s was documented on the back by the framer.
Yet my original question remained. How did so many works of art by one person end up scattered around the world without someone knowing who the artist is????? A Google search might turn up an occasional art auction house with a Lert listing, but very little other info. (By the way, I haven’t seen an auction or gallery price above $100.)
Locations? Like I said, current owners are located all around the world. Here’s just the ones I know about:
California  – Oregon  – Florida  – Ohio  – Texas  – New Jersey  Kentucky  – Colorado 
New Zealand  – Australia  – Sweden  – Ukraine  – The Netherlands  – Philippines  – Germany  – Indonesia  – Canadian Province 
Then last month someone connected me to an active ebay auction for one painting of a pair of Lert owls and I immediately wrote the seller. Turned out the seller is located in Colorado and claimed the artist was from Thailand and that Lert painted on a bed of tobacco leaves* mounted to board. The auction was for $99.99 and sadly I noted it closed without a buyer, but to be fair the auction stated there was some damage to leaves in two spots.
PROGRESS! Last week a person named Harlis sent me an email. Harlis shared that he bought his Lert in 1975 at an open air market. It is also of two owls on a bed of leaves. The market was in Thailand on U-tapao RTAFB.
Light bulb moment! It makes perfect sense to me now. As people from all over the world passed in and out of the hub at the Royal Thai Air Force Base they took home a memento in the form of paintings by Lert!!!! I would have also been drawn to the open air market and absolutely would have carted home as many as I could have afforded. I wrote back and have asked Harlis if the vendor was the artist and if so, was Lert male or female, but I haven’t heard back. I’ll be sure to update you when I do.
So if this is in fact how Lert paintings arrived all around the world, perhaps the story ends here . . . or perhaps someone new will eventually come forward like a family member or neighbor. Perhaps Lert tired of painting and stopped. Perhaps Lert discovered a new genre and moved on to create ________________. Your guess is as good as mine!
I hope if you also have a Lert that you will continue to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
This particular blog theme does not lend itself well to displaying a lovely gallery.
Soon I plan to rebuild the Lert pages and share a dedicated online gallery so we can continue to see the diversity of this mystery artist.
*Ebay Auction description:
Ink & Watercolor on Leaves Signed: Lert Date: 1970-1990
Image: 15 ¾”x 11 ¾” Frame: 19 ½”x 15 ½”
Unique painting using dried tobacco leaves (different shades of light brown) as a canvas. The painting is done in ink with watercolor or gouache for the color of the Owls (green, yellow & white). There are two spots where the leaves have degraded (pictured)… On the back is a stamp from Siam Gallery in Bangkok, Thailand, with the No. 0302.