Birds and Journal
Artworks collected by Romain Baujard
I Theodore Casson as a young artist, yearbook of unknown School of Fine Arts
«Truth is in things, and not in words.» Herman Melville
n February 2011, during a trip in Prague, I discovered in the flea market of Kolbenova a Bat’a shoebox (size 7 and a half) containing several photographs and little watercolours in a handmade journal. Underneath the photographs was a Pictorial encyclopedia of Birds of 1000 pages, written in english language by a writer nammed Theodore Casson. On the back of each photogaph and painting was written the dates and places where it had been taken, with the initials T.C. . I assumed that the photographs and the journal were those of Theodore Casson. The origins of Theodore Casson remain mysterious, and his artwork has never been recognised. I was struck when I discovered the enigma of his life during a short period of time (1946-1947), and saw in him an enlightened amateur, a strange painter, and a witness of the immediate post war era. I was even more intrigued when I realised that the encyclopedia of birds had been entirely painted with the birds’ eyes in red. With the photographs was a little journal, with small images attached (Casson’s photographs? found images?) and words painted on those, with, very often the mention of Theodore Casson was here or the man’s signature. Some parts of the journal mentionned two other people, Hannabelle Langström and Rutledge Stevenson, probably Casson’s lover and friend. Even if, sometimes, the date Casson wrote says 1971, the actual dates are 1946 or 1947, and why Casson stated 1971 remains a mystery. Each photograph in the journal had a number on the back, from 01 to 791. I realised that the birds had numbers that corresponded to the journal’s photographs. In this book are compiled some of the birds painted in the encyclopedia, and parts of Casson’s journal. Each photograph is put in regard with a bird of the same number. This conclusion came when I discovered the relationship between birds and the journal. In the shoebox was also paintings and collages, which I intend to show in another publication later. The reader may argue that the mystery about Theodore Casson’s life remains, but, here are his belongings. Romain Baujard, may 2011
Theodore Cassonâ€™s The Pictorial Encyclopedia of Birds, 1950.
Theodore Casson as a young child.
Theodore Casson in his dark room, smoking.
Theodore Casson working with the birds, Nairobi, 1956.
Theodore Casson’s farm, 1946.
Theodore Casson and Rutledge Stevenson, probably 1947.
Theodore Casson and Hannabelle Langström in the courtyard of Rutledge Stevenson. 1947.
Rutledge Stevenson eating a sandwich. Date unknown.
Wilson, Theodore Casson’s dog. Rutledge Stevenson in Nürnberg, 1948 (painter unknown). Hannabelle Langström and family in Hamburg, 1943 (painter unknown).
and parts of Theodore Cassonâ€™s Journal, 1946-1947
Thanks to Stepanka Simlova, Barbara LangstrĂśm and Johnatan Stevenson. ÂŠ Romain Baujard 2011