John Decker traversed though life burdened by a troubled past. At the tender age of 13, his parents had abandoned him in London.Later, in his early-twenties, Decker served two years as a political prisoner during the first World War, on the Isle of Man, where he experienced the worst humanity can offer. After the War, he was released. With a fake passport in hand, he chose to risk more jail time and hard labor by hopping aboard a ship bound for the America, and as a stowaway he sailed for several rough days across the Atlantic.
Decker’s caricature drawings appeared in countless publications from coast-to-coast during the 1920s through the 1940s. In New York during the Roaring Twenties, he was a staff artist for the “Evening World”, responsible for attending Broadway plays and creating caricature drawings for the newspaper’s theatre section.
During his life, his paintings were displayed alongside works of the old Master painters, including Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Daumier, among others
Oil on canvas, 1946
18 1/4 x 14 inches
Gift of the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation