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Chicago Portrait CompanyChicago Portrait Company was founded in 1893 and located 509 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. Info from visitors:My photo is marked "The Studios of the Chicago Portrait Company. Located on Wabash Ave, Chicago in 1936. There was also a "Chicago Portrait Company" in St Louis, MO in 1919.I have a portrait of a family member taken in 1927 at the Chicago Portrait Company, 509 South Walbash Avenue Chicago Illinois. The gold plate on the back of portrait says this is an Heirloom portrait then it has the lady's name, and at the bottom it says Gothic Design Patent No 65301. One final note at the bottom, on the back of the portrait it also has E H Baese (art director).My Uncle Grant reportedly worked for the Chicago Portrait Company in the 1930s. He would travel around the country, taking photographs of people, and mailing the film to the Chicago Portrait Company. The company would mount the photos in large frames and return them to the customers.Today my mother gave me a portrait of her grand mother and father, Jacob and Kathern Braun, on the back stamped "CATHEDRAL DESIGN Design Patented June 24, 1924 Made and sold by CHICAGO PORTRAIT COMPANY" Looks like it was in a bubble glass frame. Written on the back with a crayon 2/3-2904.I just located two pictures - one of my grandparents, the other, my father when he was about 3 years old. Both frames have bubble glass and metal-like cathedral frames. No date is on the frames but they say Chicago Portrait Company- frame price $7.90. I believe the date to be in the 1920's somewhere.$7.90 was a big price in the 1920's. I have no other information.I too have an oval glassed portrait of my grandfather. On the other side is a portrait of an old man holding a sheep. The signature is ?? Carson. This is all I have. My gr.father was born in 1846 and died in 1926. The portrait is inside a unique bubble glass frame.I have a rare historical book on the corporate history of the Chicago Portrait Company, dated 1905. The information concerns the period 1893 - 1904 andfollows the corprate philosophy, purpose, structure, strategies, etc. It is leather bound, abot 6" by 11" and contains many photographs of personnel, Board Members, facility, equipment, transportion, etc.I have a beautiful waterfall print by W.A. Carson that also has 1924 Chicago Portrait Co. The portrait company got into some legal trouble with the IRS and federal trade commission around that time. They were in the business of enlarging photographs into portraits and misrepresenting them to be handpainted. There was also problems with their contracts and misstating revenue or something like that. Last week on eBay a buck print by W.A. Carson with a cathedral arched frame and convex glass (common for his prints) sold for $61. His original paintings are selling for $1500 and up.My grandfather always had a picture of himself hanging in his basement & I remember looking at it forever as a child. Now that he has been dead for 16 years, it is mine. As I was about to rehang it, I noticed the markings in crayon on the back and the stamped "Price of Frame $5.90 includes back and glass & back only" It then goes on to state "One price-cannot be altered or changed, workmanship and material guaranteed Chicago Portrait Company Chicago, Ill." It too is a cathedral design Stamped "June 3d, 1934"Incorporated in 1893, by Thomas J. Ogara, Thomas J. Durkin, C.M. Stumcke. Address for many years at 590 Wabash, intersection of Wabash and Congress.
I have a similar photo of my father from 1924 when he was a baby. The back of the wooden oval frame has the Chicago Potrait Company stamp and price of $3.90 on it. The glass is oval at top, square at bottom and convexed. There is more information on the Chicago Portrait Company at this website. Hope this helps.
Chicago Portrait Company was an organization that served as the "middle man" between seller and buyers of artwork. The company gained immense growth during the years 1919-1924. However; the company was often sued by various artists for selling up-sized paintings of their work without consent. Today, the items such as frames from Chicago Company can fetch between $15-$60.
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