Joel BeckThe other "Joel Beck" by Phil Howe

While browsing the internet looking for work by Joel, I came upon these paintings (watercolors). I had never seen them before but they had a look about them which led me to believe they had been created by my friend. They were vaguely reminiscent of Point Richmond, the beach at Keller's cove and commercial vessels in the Richmond inner harbor.

The paintings were for sale in England and I wondered how in the world they had gotten there and why I had never seen them before. I examined the signatures very closely and that also led me to believe that Joel had created them. I mean how many artists named Joel Beck are there in the world? And Joel had many different signatures he used on his works of art.

So I bought them, brought them to America, and had them framed believing that they were my friend's works.

Joel BeckLater I received an email from a British woman (Pat Thompson) who said that she had painted them and could prove it. Even though the dates on these paintings were from the early 1970s she stated that she had painted them around the year 2000. This is where things get a little weird. Among other things these paintings had what might be considered a double signature, that is the name was signed once and signed again over the first signature. Joel died at the end of the 20th Century, September 1999. This lady artist said she had picked a name out of thin air and the name Joel Beck came to her. She chose a man's name and an earlier date because she thought that would give her paintings more gravitas.

Somehow I have a feeling that there is a connection between this woman and the Joel I knew. Can't put my finger on it … but that is why these works are included in our website.

Joel Beck Joel Beck Joel Beck

Letter from Pat Thompson:

Dear Mr. Howe;

Joel BeckMy name is Patricia E. M. Thompson, a watercolor artist and illustrator, born in East Yorkshire, UK in 1945. Over a lifetime of living and working in various parts of the UK and abroad in Africa and Europe, my oeuvre extends from architecture and cityscapes thro' cafe life to marine work and seascapes; caricatures of people and places, market scenes to the avant grade.

I do have several pseudonyms for the different genres in which I paint and draw. During a short period of time from year 2000 to 2004 I produced 12 marine watercolors in the pseudonym of Joel Beck. I thought of the idea of an old fisherman/seaman living/working in the early 20th century as ideal, so backdated the works to circa 1970s to cover subject matter of local East Coast of Yorkshire seaport/docks/harbour and estuary scenes. These were all sold at Yorkshire Auction Houses (2001) or private sales by 2008.

In 2009, in the Burlington Gallery in Bridlington, East York, where I am represented, a certain Mr. James Clark from Pickering, North York, a collector/dealer, came in and saw the Limited Edition Print on display of my last Joel Beck - Bridlington Old Harbour. He asked if I knew who Joel Beck was, as he knew there to be ambiguities. Mr. Clark had been contacted by an American on the Internet, from the JB website saying that there was no English JB, only the USA Joel Beck, and the watercolors on the web were USA's Joel Beck's "early work". Mr Clark said this was not so, as he had been told on good authority that it was a lady artist living in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, working under this pseudonym. I said that I was Joel Beck. Mr. Clark was so pleased to at last find me, and told me the above information of the JB Website, and that the USA contact would not agree that the 5 early original watercolor works on display were not the USA's JBs work, but that of the UK Yorkshire artist working under a pseudonym.

Mr. Clark suggested I look up the website for myself to confirm, like himself, that he and I were satisfied that it was work of mine he had purchased. My son located the website, where I immediately recognized the 2000 marine work, backdated and signed under my pseudonym Joel Beck.

I then collated the photostats/photos of work, my catalogue entry and sale of work entry to confirm what we had discovered on your web page. My son and I thought it was now necessary to make my situation known by posting a blog on your website as I do not want my work to be misrepresented in any way.

Regards, Patricia