Common Corners

His Published Life

Artists of Grand Rapids

Early Grand Rapids Years

Marinus Harting

Kent Base Ball Club

When They Were Boys

Palestine Exhibition Company

Art In Chicago

Paintings By
Mr. Lawrence C. Earle

Brush & Pencil

Grand Rapids
Artists and Writers

Carter Times -
Dutch Boy Painter

Robert L. Stearns

Artist Paints Types
of Kingdom Come

Latest Portrait:
Mrs. Van Sluyters

Earle's Pictures are
Mountain Portraits

Exhibits New Work

Good Art in High
Class Movie Film

Motion Picture Classic
magazine cover 1916

Paints Portrait of
YWCA Helper

Lawrence C. Earle,
Distinguished Artist,
Dies at Friend's Door

Garfield Gives
Reminiscence of
Artist L. C. Earle

Dutch Boy Painter
Vol. XV Number 2
March 1922






Published and Copyrighted by National Lead Company,
111 Broadway, New York, NY
Volume XXIV    MARCH, 1931      Number 2


  THE original Dutch Boy Painter was a New Jersey Irish boy. Today twenty-four years after the Dutch Boy portrait was made, the original model is discovered in a pent house on top of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle building. Today he does not pose with a paint brush, keg and wooden shoes. Instead he sits over a drawing board sketching and painting. He may be drawing a newspaper cartoon that ridicules a passing fad or presents the gist of an international struggle. He may be creating a comic strip of a duck performing antics no bird ever dreamed, or it may be boys playing as all boys play. And the expression on his face reminds one of the expression of the Dutch Boy, a combination of mischievousness and seriousness of purpose that has won such affection for the famous trademark throughout the country.

  One day in 1907 young Michael Brady was playing near his home in Montclair, when Lawrence Carmichael Earle, noted portrait painter, was passing by. Mr. Earle was thinking of a new picture he was to paint—a portrait of a Dutch Boy as the trade-mark for National Lead Company. Perhaps he was thinking also of Gainsborough's "Blue Boy," to which the picture he planned was later to be compared. Perhaps he was wondering who could serve as model. However that may be, he saw Michael and knew that his search for a model was ended. The boy was the right size, his eyes were the color he wanted, and the boy's face held the painter's fancy.

 The details of the posing were easily arranged. Mr. Earle had access to the studio of his friend, George Inness, not far from the Brady home. Wooden shoes, blue overalls and cap were purchased. The boy was told to wear the clothes at play for a few days so that they would look as if they belonged to him and not like a masquerade costume.

  Never had Michael felt so important as when he sat on the model stand with the artist before him, busy at work on a canvas. Never had he seen such a room with an immense skylight and plaster casts of heads and torsos and hands and feet.

  His arm held aloft like the arm of Liberty grew tired, but there were frequent rest periods when he could explore the studio room and see how the work on the canvas progressed. And every day at the end of the posing he received his pay of two dollars an hour. This, the first money he ever earned, he spent quickly on orgies of candy and pop. Before the painting was finished the family doctor was called in to diagnose a strange and painful attack of stomach ache.

  From the time he first posed, Michael had but one ambition. He forgot his former intentions of becoming a cowboy or a circus acrobat. He was going to make pictures when he grew up. With Mr. Earle as his hero and a print of the portrait of himself as a direct incentive, he spent long hours covering sheets of paper and occasionally fences and walls with his first artistic attempts.

  He never lost sight of that childhood ambition. Today, working for the Brooklyn Eagle, he is one of the country's powerful cartoonists. With his pictures he influences the tastes and political thought of thousands of people. With his comics he delights children and adults in several cities.

  The portrait of Mr. Brady as a boy in overalls and wooden shoes has inspired him to realize a high ambition. To house painters, decorators and many others, the portrait stands as a mark of high quality paint products and inspires them with confidence in work done with those products.

View accompanying cartoon: The story of the boy who posed for the National Lead Company trade-mark, as told by himself. (Michael Brady, 1931)



*Thanks to Dr. J. Gray Sweeney for permission to use material from
Artists of Grand Rapids 1840-1980, J. Gray Sweeney; Grand Rapids, 1981:
The Grand Rapids Art Museum, The Grand Rapids Public Museum

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Common Corners