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GRAFTON, WI by Angie Mack Reilly (c) 2/4/18
Today I stumbled across a photo while looking for photos to add to “Angie Mack Reilly’s Blues and Music” board on Pinterest.
Immediately, I noticed the right hand. I got to know that right hand very well when my partner, Matthew Reilly, was painting a Blind Blake commission piece for the Village of Grafton.
Matthew graduated from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 1985 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I remember how many renditions of Blind Blake’s hand that he went through. For months, I watched Matthew try to successfully capture Blind Blake’s hand.
So when I was glancing through photos, the right hand in this photo immediately reminded me of Blind Blake’s hand. So I showed it to Matthew. “Take a look this. Look at that hand. Do you think this could possibly be Blind Blake?”
“That looks like the hand alright. Most men get their hands from their fathers, you know. And the placement of the nose and mouth. The profiles are very similar” Matthew advised.
“Based on my artistic training and knowledge, I think that there is a good 70% chance that this could be Blind Blake or someone related to Blind Blake.” – Matthew Reilly “The Carpenter Artist”
The photo came from the Black History Album posted by @blackhistoryalb with the description,
“Young photographer. Unknown provenance – anybody know more?”
The photo is titled, “Young African American Boy, ca. 1925”.
We know that Blind Blake died in 1934 (age 38). If indeed this photo was taken in 1925, Blake would have had to have been around the age of 29 which clearly isn’t so by looking at the photo. Matthew thinks that the boy in the photo is around the age of 15.
Akira Kikuchi, Japanese researcher, visited Grafton, WI to do some extensive research on the only known photo of Blake. His research confirmed that the photo of Blake was taken in Grafton, WI at the photo studio in downtown Grafton.
Anyone with knowledge or thoughts about this photo should contact email@example.com