np: NP, circa 1940. Henry Miller. 1st. Signed Henry Miller in pencil. Mixed media (15 x 24") with brown dye-cut mat in modern aluminum frame (19 1/4 x 28 3/8"). Screen print with color drawing and sketch with overprinted text, hand signed. (Not examined out of frame). The opening text draws on the parable of the Prodigal Son afterwhich Miller creates a textual montage with passages from his book "The Cosmological Eye," pages 254–260. The title of Miller's rendering "When was all this that" is taken form the same title, page 260.
"Like a prodigal son I walk in golden
leisure down the street of my youth.
I am neither bewildered nor disap-
pointed. From the perimeter of the
six extremes I have wandered back
by devious routes to the hut where
all is change and transformation,
a whit lamb continually shedding
its skin. When along the mountain
ridges I howled with pain,
when in the sweltering white valleys
I was choked with alkali, when fording
the sluggish streams my feet were splintered
by rock and shell, when I licked the salty
sweat of the lemon fields or lay in the
burning kilns to be baked.
"That was excellent" says the surgeon. "Really quite excellent."
"Oh, it was, eh? I scream. And jumping up like a maniac
I knock him off the stool and with my knees firmly planted
in his chest I grab the nearest instrument and commence
to gouge him with it.
I work on him
like a demon. I
gouge out his eyes,
I burst his ear-
drums, I slit his
tongue, I break
his wind-pipe, I
flatten his nose.
Ripping the clothes off
him, I burn his chest
until it smokes, and while
the flesh is still raw and
quivering from the hot iron,
I roll back the outer layers
and pour nitric acid inside
– until I hear the heart and
lungs sizzling. Until the fumes
almost keel me over.
The child meanwhile is clapping her
hands with glee. As I get up to look for a
mallet I notice my wife sitting in the other corner.
She seems too paralyzed with fright to get up. All she
can do is to whisper – "Fiend! Fiend!"
I am downstairs to look for
Signed Henry Miller. Item #47171