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Count Carlo

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I was recently contacted by one of our readers named Robert. I was so excited about the information the email revealed about Carlo. I have asked him to please send me copies of the correspondence between both of them and any pictures he has of Carlo.

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Hi there,  

It’s with great interest that I read your newsletters and admire all your wonderful Carlo’s.  I started collecting Carlo in the mid 80’s and at the time had one great source from a woman living in Southern Cal. I live in Boston. Carlo’s can appear unexpectedly anywhere but there seems to more on the west coast. Somehow Carlo heard from another collector that I was collecting his work and he WROTE to me! You can just imagine when I opened the mailbox and saw his name on the return address. So over a short period of time he wrote me four times. At the time he was living in Manila, the Philippines and working as an artist along with some other creative adventures such as film making. He sent me an article written about him from July 8, 1987 titled  “Predictions by Count Carlo”   The guy was a character.  He claims that at the age of 28 he had a vision of his obituary published in a newspaper. I assume he passed away sometime in the 90’s but I can’t verify that.  The great thing about this article is that there are three photographs of him…an amiable looking balding man with a full grey beard.  One photograph has him sitting in front of one of his recent paintings – a 15 foot tall abstract painting.

He went by the name Count Carlo and I have three of his calling cards that he sent me. He didn’t consider any works signed “Carlo” to be his serious work except those painted for JC Penny. I think it’s difficult to figure what exactly was done by him since after moving to Italy and “proceeding to mass produce ‘original’ Carlos with the aid of over a dozens artists and semi-artists….hence their must be hundreds and thousands of paintings with my original signature.”  Another quote “My serious work I sign Count Alberto Carlo or just Albert Carlo but never Carlo, except of course what I painted for JC Penny”  

At the time I sent him photos of all the Carlo’s I had and he returned them with a sentence or two description written on the back of each. Back then he was looking for paintings that he did on velvet and was willing to pay for them. I had none and rarely see any. There was a pair recently on eBay of harlequins that sold for something ridiculous like 9.99.  I don’t know about you but most of the stuff listed on eBay these days by Carlo I personally do not care for. And the prices are terribly inflated. 

He sent me a painting unexpectedly titled “Hong Kong Beauty” which he requested $300 for but I sent it back. I didn’t like it at all!  I wanted to say to him…no offense but I prefer your stuff that was mass produced. I guess he might have been offended because I never heard from him again.

I’ll go through my letters again and see what other info I can send you. Although my collecting has gone in a different direction I still have a few on the walls. I absolutely love Carlos in the forced perspective frames and there’s nothing like them….whoever painted them!

Hope this bit of info helps a bit…..

Regards,
Robert

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If Robert can manage to find the original correspondence and photos I will post them on the site. I am soo excited at the possibility of adding a face to the name. This is like solving a mystery 60 something years in the making. It is soo important that we share this info so it isn’t lost to time. I will make sure to keep all you Carlo art lovers updated as soon as I hear anything.

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8 responses »

  1. This Carlos tid bit made my day! Thank you so much. I love this site , don’t ever stop!
    Teri

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    • Hey Teresa,
      Thanks soo much for your support! When I got Roberts email I was elated. I really hope I can get copies of his letters and a picture of Carlo. We will keep our fingers crossed. I might have also located a Casablanca movie Lobby card painted by Albert Carlo. I am trying to get a better picture of the signature but it looks very promising that Albert Carlo and Carlo of Hollywood is the same artist.

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  2. Wow, isn’t it amazing what can happen because of the internet! This is great information and I KNOW how much it means to you, and probably MANY others who are Carlo devotees. I would LOVE to see what the one’s he did for JC Penney look like. Hm, another mystery to be solved! Keeping fingers crossed that you can get hold of that lobby card. Keep us posted!

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    • The internet has been an amazing tool to research with. Unfortunately the auction house is unwilling to contact the new owner of the Casablanca lobby card to get a copy of the signature. I am 99% sure it was done by Carlo but I would love to see a clearer signature first. Soo frustrating when all we are trying to do is validate their lobby card. I cant imagine why someone wouldn’t help. Oh well!

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  3. Richard Bernstein

    Wow. Just found your site I knew Count Carlo in Baja and wrote about him in my book Following the Ragman available on Amazon or through me .

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    • Thanks for reaching out Richard. As you might now he is a mystery to most collectors. Is there anything you can share about him? Maybe a photo of him? I have searched all over and there is more myth than fact about Count Carlo.

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  4. Heftziba Chase

    I’m looking for any information on a wonderful man named Albert or Alberto ‘Count’ Carlo. He was my Mothers meistro and she has two amazing paintings he gave her as a gift. One a wedding gift, with personal message on back.
    He was as an uncle to me when I was aged 5 til age 9. So much fun. Always playing magic tricks and telling the greatest stories. Then we moved and he moved and lost touch.
    My mother has many wonderful pictures of him. I wonder if the Carlo we knew and the one you are looking for information on is the same man.
    Please contact me. I am also excited to find out anything we can about him and what happened to him.

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    • People over the years have contacted us saying they knew him. Nobody has really gone through with sharing any additional info though. Everything we know about him is posted in the blog. If we find out more, we’ll post an update. Thanks so much for reaching out.

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