Errol Flynn by John Decker

30 Aug

Here he is in all his wonderful might!

The picture is located at the Errol Flynn estate in Jamaica.

People like and dislike this painting – BUT – one fact remains this painting captures to perfection Errol's Mona Lisa “non-smiling” captivating SMILE.
His eyes projecting thought and feelings combined with his unusual facial expression of tenderness are communicated to perfection in this painting.
The painting maybe should be called “The Seductive Smile” or “The Melting Process” 

There are two photographs in which he displays this very smile! (See below)

Errol with his picture at the fireplace in his living room!

And here are the two photo captions of “The Seductive Smile”

It was the melting process!

— Tina


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  1. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 5:21 am

    His wonderful might, yes–the painting's, no. In fact, Decker did nothing but paint from an existing photo of Flynn, which “Mona Lisa” smile was already in the photo.

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  2. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Could you possibly – please – post the photo which was used? Thanks!

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  3. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 6:07 am

  4. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 7:15 am

    This image or video has been moved or deleted, says my stupid computer…? I cannot even reply to your post directly…

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  5. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I like the painting that John Decker did of Errol. I like that the painting was in Jaimaica over his fireplace. It should definitely be called” The Melting Process”. That painting would make me melt by looking at it!!!!

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  6. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    I'll try again. The method for uploading photos is frustrating!

    Decker made the shirt black which was easier to paint and would reduce the likelihood of anyone making the connection with the source photo.

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  7. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Hi Robert;
    Thank you for this information, which clears up why I always wondered about your not so favorable comments about the picture and now I know why. It is most interesting to learn that John Decker painted the picture by copying an existing photograph of Errol. So it seems Errol never had to sit patiently for hours to create this painting?
    I therefore assume that you mean painting a picture by copying a photograph is not something of real genuine talent or value as is a painting produced via a live model or maybe out of memory of the person without a photograph?
    Are these two different skills of art and talent?
    I see that you tried to place the photograph of the picture in question in your reply but something did not work out with it. I sincerely hope you will find a way to post the picture as it would show what is what in the art of painting.

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  8. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    That's why I couldn't imagine which one he took. Never would have guessed that it was this one. Thanks so much, Robert!

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  9. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Kind of diminishes the Decker mystique, ja?

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  10. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    Painting from a photograph isn't in and of itself an issue, but this is something that would require me to go into much more detail than time and space would allow here. Suffice it to say, I myself have used the method often in my work especially when commissioned to paint celebrities. However, the difference is in the presentation–Decker fancied himself an “artiste” worthy of being taken seriously (which Flynn fans seem to have fallen for), something that would demand that his methods be of the highest level. They weren't. Had he simply produced the painting privately for Flynn without the accompanying fanfare, I would not be taking the position I do–that a sow's ear has been confused with a silk purse.
    P.S. The photo IS now uploaded.

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  11. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Robert;
    Man alive it is the picture!
    I have to look amongst the hundreds of picture I have if I have this one. I call myself pretty observant but I missed that one for sure – that is if I have the picture.
    I hope you will answer my questions in my previous post as I really would like to know what is what and I am sure I am not alone on this blog with that request.
    You know, being the famous artist you are – your word would just about be gospel.

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  12. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    yes that is so cool.

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  13. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    when was the picture taken and the painting done of Errol?

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  14. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    I have to admit I'm more with you, also in your criticism below – the painting never seemed a masterpiece to me, but then all the fans said, yes, it is so gorgeous and I tried to find something about it which I liked… but never really succeeded. Peer pressure, you know.

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  15. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Thank you very much Robert for the explanation and I do understand that the details of this subject would be much to vast to publish here – but you do give a clear and understandable synopsis of the subject, which I appreciate and which answers my question.

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  16. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    It certainly does and more over have you read David's posting in “The Falling Rocket” post about this painting – being painted on CARDBOARD? I always thought it was an oil on canvas! I am stunt to say the least!

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  17. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Do you have this picture?

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  18. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Tina, do you mean me? Yes, I had the picture, and some more from this series. They rank in my category “Strange Tie”. Here they are:

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  19. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Great minds just think alike Inga!
    I just wanted to do the same thing as I was looking for Robert's picture in the quest to find if I have it too. I found it and along with it several others of the same tie clue. Must have been a lengthy photo shoot!
    I also have this picture as a sort of magazine cover and will post it as such!
    I will post my pictures in my next post!

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  20. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm

    Maybe the first picture is not – maybe the tie is different – yeah —

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  21. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Yes I did mean you Inga and you responded with a wow! Just what I wanted to do as I said in the other post, but the blog is down and I can't post anything! I just have to wait!

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  22. Anonymous

    August 30, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    As promised Inga here is my picture series. Needless to say I am differently organized with my pictures and had to find them the hard way and make a new sub-file for them, which I did.
    After second thought I'll just post the ones you do not show. I have the four you show and three more.
    Here they are:

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  23. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 5:07 am

    Tina, the first picture is not, as you said (different tie), the second is the one of Robert and the third is my first one. Take care!

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  24. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 6:26 am

    I was wrong, your third is another one indeed – pipe is closer to the mouth. Sorry, it's early in the morning, eyes are a bit blurred still. I guess there are many more out there – just remember how many there exist of the Flower Series!

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  25. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    I don't see that your first is the same as my third? Could you put them side be side? Mine looks like a back-page or full inside page of a magazine. I put it with our magazine-front-pages, maybe somebody has some details?

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  26. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Yeah – I can't see straight either! I saw your post after I posted mine – yikes! I tried to do some postings last night but the blog was off line and this morning I could not remember what I wanted to post, but it will come back to my scrambled brain.
    Flower series is right and then there are a lot of pictures with same tie I noticed when I was looking for the Decker-Tie picture. I have the picture Robert posted but never connected it with Decker's painting – God in heaven – who would think that he painted it from a picture and on CARDBOARD – did you read David's post. I would have thought it is oil on canvas! If this is so the painting has no value except a sentimental one. What do you think about all this starling news or anybody of our authors?

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  27. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Hi Robert;
    Do you have the answer to EFlynnFan09 question? It sure would be great to know! Even an approx date would do.

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  28. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Cardboard can be stable as well, I think, it depends on its thickness… there are different types? I think the picture has a value for Flynn fans only – if it were on auction at ebay, I think it'd go for an enormous price.

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  29. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    The second one looks nothing like me.

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  30. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Both were done in 1943, but research has not yet covered that year. The painting appears to have been presented to Flynn during the filming of “Uncertain Glory”, which took place in the latter part of '43. I have photos of Decker,Flynn, and Raoul Walsh standing next to the painting as it is presented, one with just Decker and Flynn, and one with Flynn alone. They will be included in the Chronology, of which I am just now completing 1938.

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  31. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Here it is to compare!

    Now that I look at the pictures side by side I would say Decker captured Errol's sort of seductive smile (smirk), which is not quite so obvious in the photograph.
    Maybe I am seeing things which are there or not?
    What ever the case, one has to admit looking at these two pictures, Decker did paint Errol's portrait from this photograph.

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  32. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I agree Inga and it is what I said too – the painting has no value except a sentimental one, which means fans, family, friends, curio seekers, etc.etc.etc. Value like a painting of a renowned painter i.e. a museum piece it has none. If Decker would have painted the picture in oil on canvas and in a personal Decker style it would have the art value of Decker's paintings. I don't know what the value of an original Decker painting is today or even if there exist such thing.
    Anyway, Robert will know the answer! How about it Robert?

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  33. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    If we are talking about John Decker I thought we should have some details here on the blog about him. Below is a link to his family tree and background (in German – as he was German – translates into English)…
    And Deckers' paintings – Google images – a link for interest!…

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  34. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    And let's not forget how bad he smelled.

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  35. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    You are right Robert – I read the water was black when they finally washed him by throwing him into the ocean and dragging him along until he was clean. BRRR!

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  36. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Thank you for the information!
    Btw, you are saying you are in 1938 with the Chronicle? Seriously, I thought you are close to publishing? When do you think you will publish it? I still want to have and read it too … surely you know what I mean!

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  37. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    1938 it is. The project has expanded to such a degree (with vast amounts of info and visuals I hadn't realized were available), and so the project is taking much longer. At the moment, it is already 100 pages and 75,000 words. But I do believe it will be well worth the wait, as the very few who have already seen the work-in-progress can attest to. Also, I have definitely decided to release it as a published book only. I will keep everyone apprised of an approaching completion–whenever that may be.

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  38. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Your statement – (with vast amounts of info and visuals I hadn't realized were available),
    Now you really surprise me, I always thought you had every information at your feet or on your fingertips! From where is all this new material – visual and info – coming or available from? On the Internet – I don't think so! You really have my curiosity going!

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  39. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    It comes from being given the opportunity to dig even deeper into the Warner Archives, each discovery opening up avenues to other discoveries. I may never finish at this rate!

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  40. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    Your comment Robert has no reply button – just wanted to say “you lucky duck” and I wish you the best of luck!

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  41. Anonymous

    August 31, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Oh good — thanks for letting us know. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy when it's published! I've no doubt it'll be well worth the wait. :-)

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  42. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 12:46 am

    thank u for answering my question, Robert. I was just so very curious as to when John Decker painted Errol's picture.

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  43. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Sounds as if you could make use of an assistant… :-))

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  44. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 5:44 am

    Tina, you were absent for too long, you missed a few things:…

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  45. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 6:23 am

    Any time – any time – assistance is wonderful my dear Inga!

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  46. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 6:27 am

    This is true Inga and I think I will be absent again – radiation is starting Sept. 6th! I did see this post at an earlier time, can't remember when, mine is different it shows his family history from Germany. He was a friend of Errol and I think we should engulf friends of Errol in a way like – if they were good enough for Errol, they should be good enough for us. We don't need to dwell on them but mention them if appropriate or in connection with a subject as the current one is – his painting of Errol! I am quite sure you agree with me?

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  47. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 6:33 am

    In fact, I will be looking from assistance from you all when the book is nearing completion. More on that then……..

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  48. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Of course, Tina! Good luck for Sept. 6th! You are up late today, I'm at work already.

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  49. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I know you are at work and I am still up, but I am on the way to my feathers.
    My mother always used to worry about my habits when I was a child, she used to say: “Um Himmels Willen was wird nur aus Dir werden, am Abend nicht ins Bett und am Morgen nicht heraus.” You translate that one – hahaha!
    I have always been the late never the early bird!

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  50. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 7:32 am

    Robert you have all our assistance – you just say the word!

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  51. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Thanks Inga – we will need prayers and good luck! The good thoughts of the many has a lot of power!

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  52. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Heartily agree!

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  53. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Me too! (Those reply buttons drive me crazy, you never know to which post you post a reply…)

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  54. Anonymous

    September 1, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    And that from a nicely mended heart!

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  55. Gemma

    January 9, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    I really enjoy browsing these archives with so many wonderful, profound posts and comments. How come the comments are all marked as “anonymous”?

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    • David DeWitt

      January 9, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      Gemma, the blog was migrated to WordPress from another host and we lost a lot photos, and links. Also attributions! That is why you dont see the names of the commters in older areas of the blog. I backed up everything before the transfer and have a record of who these comments belong to but it would be extremely tedious to add them back …

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