Sunday, May 03, 2015

A John Peers clown painting (probably of Emmett Kelly) I bought years ago at a junk store

By Jack Brummet, Outsider Art Ed.

I know a lot of people don't like clowns. I'm pretty neutral on clowns (except maybe John Wayne Gacy). I bought this oil for $5 about 20 years ago at a junk/antique store on Lake City Way (it's about 2'x3'). I did some searching and found out the  artist is John Peers, a somewhat well-known painter of clowns. 

"This is Famous Bohemian San Francisco gallery artist (of the time) PEERS, from the 1950's. My mother and father both knew this man and he painted many paintings for them. I still have some of the nicest ones." Someone else: "Peers lived in South San Francisco and liked to drink. He was a friend of my Uncle Giovanni and should be about 75-80 is he is still alive. He would go to bard on Third Street (near Candlestick Park) and sell those clown paintings for $25.  My Uncle has 3 and they are rather good." 

I think the subject of the painting is Emmett Kelly who was a kind of hobo/clown amalgam (like Red Skelton)?



Randy Crawford said...

I have one like this can you tell what it's worthyou can reach me at

Anonymous said...

What are these Peers portraits worth some quite valuable I have two of them & both one of one originals On others the same

Gary Heaton said...

Is this painting for sale?

Anonymous said...

My grandmother also knew this artist she worked in the bar where he hung out I have seven of his paintings ranging in all sizes including one of himself as a little boy and one that looks like it maybe a Chinese farmer they're all in the original frames my paintings are for sale

Anonymous said...

Yes I have one of these portraits as well they are quite valuable to say his portraits were are always one of one . There was never a series of these portraits painted each individual painting were painted for his customer that was purchasing painting so there was never 2 alike the pain I have is also for sale serious spider buyers only

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, that’s not true. I have almost an exact copy of his red hat clown portrait. So he definitely did copies.