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Hi everyone,

I recently purchased this gorgeous drawing (graphite, ink, watercolor, and gouache) on cream paper that measures about 22x16 inches. I thought it would be an easy mystery to solve, but it's got me stumped. It is signed at the bottom left corner, "A. Otis," but I haven't found any sources referencing an applicable artist by that name. There is an ink gesture to the left of the signature that sort of looks like an "L," but I am inclined to believe it is part of the woman's rendered sleeve, as the style doesn't match the uprightness of the rest of the signature. The Art Nouveau elements of the drawing date it to 1890-1910 and I wouldn't be surprised if it were for a magazine cover or soap/perfume advertisement based on the boldness of the work. Has anyone heard of an A. Otis or seen other examples of his (presumably) work?

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Replies to This Discussion

Sorry, but I can't help. Surprising. I can't see any possibility for the last name besides Otis. And I found three artists Otis on signaturefinder.com, but don't see an A. Otis. He/she clearly had skill. Could it be the name of the subject? In which case you would have to match based on style, which is always tentative.

It looks like there is still pencil, which is strange if it is a completed commercial illustration. I assume you've taken off the back to look for anything there? Sometimes the back tells much more than the front. Also, you might consider running it by Christies to see if they recognize it. The worst they can say is no.

I unframed it and sadly, nothing on the back. I had such high hopes!

It looks like Evelyn Nesbit...

Wouldn't that be exciting? Contextually it could work. I should mention that I bought the drawing in lower Central New York/"upstate" New York, depending on where one is standing, so NYC or Philadelphia origins of the artwork are always a possibility.

Found one, not verified...

Amy Otis, mid 20th Century, portraits and mini-lecturer, North Carolina.  Source "AskArt.com.  Additional info may be had for members only.


Is "Lady Lilac" your name or printed someplace?  I didn't see it.  "Lilac Lady" was a hydroplane owned by the city of Spokane in the 1950s. I was a plank owner. Donated $1. for the honor.

I saw Amy Otis, but the time period and artistic style doesn't fit.

I just made up Lady Lilac as something to call her. There is no official title anywhere on the piece.

Well, Tom, now I'm torn. There is an Amy Otis (1863-1950) of Sherwood, New York who was active in Philadelphia. Here's an ebay listing with one of her pieces, mistakenly identified as Emmy Otis. The style is different, but I could see some similarities in the signature. As for the North Carolina mid-century reference from Askart, I kind of wonder if they have two artists combined and confused as one. Anyway, look at this signature:


LB, on your link I can definitely read Amy, not Emmy, Otis Paris.  I think the ebay listing is erroneous.

When I Google Amy Otis-Paris the same picture as yours comes up but w/o any additional information.  It appears to me that Otis was Amy's maiden name and Paris her married name.  I'm now wondering if she did any work under Amy Paris?  Research continues.

Too many Amys, Paris Hiltons, Paris Fr, eiffel towers, etc, etc. to locate your artist.

I believe the ebay listing at least is this woman. She studied in Paris and went by Amy even though her first name was Mary. I'd be curious to know if she could be the artist of mine, but the styles are wildly different. Pardon the Wikipedia link, but it's the most concise.



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