Spitting Fire

Submitted for your perusal is a vintage gouache and ink rendering of a British Spitfire fighter plane that was painted not long after the Spitfire gained its worldwide and enduring reputation during the Battle of Britain.

Dated 1941 and signed by the artist whose name appears to be Deitesfeld the illustration shows an early mark Spitfire diving at speed. The rendering is done in the style that seems to indicate it having been used in a magazine or similar publication.

Spitfire 41

Above: Cornelius Deitesfeld’s dynamically rendered depiction of an early Supermarine Spitfire fighter plane. The rendering measures 9 1/2 inches wide by 10 5/8 inches high was probably intended to be used in a magazine article. Source: Edward T. Garcia collection.

The artist appears to have been one Cornelius C. Deitesfeld who was a syndicated newspaper artist during the 1920s through the 1940s. Dietesfeld was born in Ohio on March 20, 1889, the son of Phillip and Mary Deitesfeld. He is mentioned as deceased in a newspaper article in the Kentucky New Era dated November 11, 1947. The article features a story about his son Donald who with the help of his late father had amassed a very large collection of original newspaper cartoon art.


Above: Cornelius C. Deitesfeld is pictured third from left in this advertisement for the Landon School, a vocational art school located in Cleveland, Ohio that appeared in a 1920 edition of Popular Mechanics magazine. Deitesfeld was employed with the Newspaper Enterprise Association at the time this advertisement was taken out. Source: google books.

The reverse side of the illustration bears the stamp stating that the painting was one in the graphic art collection of Murray A. Harris of North Hollywood, California. It also bears Mr. Harris’ initials and the date of June 14, 1963, when he must have acquired it for his collection. I have not found much information on Mr. Harris other than that he was an accomplished graphic designer/illustrator himself and also held a very impressive collection of original illustration and cartoon art which was sold off a few years ago.

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