PRINT September 2006


Marcel van Eeden and Aneta Grzeszykowska

BY ANY MEASURE, Karl McKay Wiegand (1873–1942) led an extraordinary life. He had multiple careers as a gangster, bootlegger, mountain climber, Abstract Expressionist, naval commander, chancellor, and matinee idol. At times he took on several of these roles at once. Dutch artist Marcel van Eeden recounts Wiegand’s exploits in a suite of 150 pencil drawings done in the style of old news photos and snapshots and simply titled K. M. Wiegand. Life and Work, 2005–2006. Here we see him scaling a rock face, getting handcuffed, being sworn into office, or standing glamorously with a starlet in the glare of the paparazzi’s flash. Here are the covers of the books he wrote and the scrawled drawings he did as a child. But then Van Eeden knows Wiegand’s remarkable story better than anyone else—since he made most of it up.

There actually was a K. M. Wiegand—a botanist who enjoyed a long, successful,

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