Media Information

Collection name:
[NY] - A Art Paintings Etchings Engravings, Etc.
Title :
A64-148; Painting, by Paul Orban, man and light
Description :
A painting by Paul Orban showing a man standing on a hillside above a valley, holding his hand up to the light. This painting illustrated an article by JGW Dana B. Hellings (GM 1938; 1939) that was published in The New York Masonic Outlook, December, 1930.
Artifact Date and Number :
1930, December; A64-148
Accession Date :
1900s, mid
Manufacture Time Period :
MTP6 (1901-1950)
Accession Time Period :
ATP4 (1926-1950)
Card Number :
Nomenclature Term :
Measurements in cm :
L: 57.5 W: 32.5
Materials :
Board (artist's); paint (multi-color); pencil
Symbols :
Radiance; traveling man; staff; flower -s; road; rock -s
Artifact Manufacturer or Artist :
Paul Orban
Manufacturer Location and State :
New York; NY
Manufacturer Other :
5 Prospect Place
Owner or Subject :
Subject: Paul Orban
Owner or subject Date Born :
Owner or subject Date Died :
Owner or Subject Other :
Paul Orban was an artist whose is best known for his illustrations of the science fiction and fantasy pulps and magazines, providing cover art and line work. "..his work appeared in countless titles including, but not limited to, 'Astounding Stories, Astounding Science-Fiction, Clues Detective Stories, Popular Detective, Skyfighters, Strange Stories, Terror Tales, Popular's Horror Stories, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Adventures, The Shadow, The Whisperer, The Phantom Detective, The Avenger, and Doc Savage.' [Orban illustrated 'Doc Savage'] from its first issue right up to its last in 1949." (Kalb, 2004)
Owner or Subject Other 2 :
Paul Orban "attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and then started working for the 'Chicago Tribune', for which he illustrated several 'Fu Manchu' novels. Later he became an art director for an advertising agency. He then moved to New York and became a freelance artist, his work appearing in 'The New York Times', 'Reader's Digest', and many other non-genre magazines as well as in many pulps.
"Although Orban did some cover art, he mostly worked as an interior artist for the SF magazines. He used an attractive cross-hatched style that worked well on the inexpensive paper used for most pulp publications. Although Orban is remembered primarily as an artist who did a great deal of excellent work for 'Astounding SF', he also contributed to many other science fiction magazines." (Weinberg, 1988)
Owner or Subject Other 3 :
Paul Orban's Masonic work, while well-known to the readers of the Masonic Outlook, appears to have been entirely unknown in non-Masonic circles. He produced cover and interior art for the Outlook between 1929 and 1932, and the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of Grand Lodge is in possession of over seventeen original works by Paul Orban, most with Masonic themes.
Donor :
GrandLodge-Donor; The Grand Lodge of New York
Donor Lodge Name Number Location and State :
The Grand Lodge of New York; New York; NY
Details :
A painting in the center of a piece of artist's drawing board. The painting shows a man with his back to the viewer. He is wearing a floor-length white robe with a calf-length additional fabric piece on top. There is a dark vertical stripe along the end of the top piece of his outfit. The folds in the fabric make it so the vertical stripe descends from his left shoulder. A similar stripe can be seen on the right side along the edge of his outfit. The top piece of fabric is has a cowl at the mid-back, under his head. There are three stripes visible inside the cowling which may be at the end of the white piece of fabric which covers his head and neck. Encircling the top of his head is a dark band which holds the fabric in place.
Details 2 :
The man is holding a walking stick in his right hand, which is outstretched horizontally. His left hand is held outstretched above his shoulder, palm open. He is looking in the same direction that his palm is facing, and his left profile is partially visible, showing part of his beard.
Details 3 :
The man is standing on grass in front of a row of boulders. There is a bush in the foreground on the left. The bush has no leaves, but there are white flowers at the ends of the crooked branches. In front of the man is a valley. In the valley is a horizontal band that is either a road or a river. There is a line along the center of the band. Also in the valley there are various trees which are more clearly defined and then become more abstract the farther into the distance they are. The horizon of plateaus is at the man's shoulder-height. Above the plateaus, filling almost half of the painting, is the sky. The sky has radiance which is coming from the sun, which is either rising or setting, and which is obscured by the man so that only the radiance is visible above his head and shoulders. There are bands of light-lined grey clouds in the sky.
Details 4 :
The artist's name is in white paint in the lower right corner. The painting is in the center of a piece of artist's board. The edge of the painting is outlined in black. Close to the edge of the board is an outline of grey. In the lower left corner of the board is impressed the board manufacturer's seal. In semi-circles above and below a central image of a stylized oak flower on a stem with an oak leaf on either side, is written, "Strathmore Drawing Board." Written across the center, on either side of the central image is "Trademark." On the back of the board is stamped (in black ink) the name of the artist and his address.
Details 5 :
This painting was used to illustrate an article printed in the December, 1930 edition of The New York Masonic Outlook. The article was by RW Dana B. Hellings (GM 1938; 1939) and is titled, "The Armor of Light."
Within the article, Most Worshipful Brother Hellings writes,
"In the broad symbolism of life, Light has come to signify spiritual knowledge and moral excellence, the eternal sources of truth, purity, joy and prosperity...It is Light that makes it possible for man to walk where otherwise would be darkness and danger. By it we see our way and are led onward to the right. Light symbolizes the state of man who perceives the hidden things of life and comprehends their true value. Light is a shining armor, protecting man from darkness and ignorance, and gleaming as a beacon for his guidance.
Details 6 :
In the ancient mysteries Light was a symbol of the principle of good. Among the Egyptians the hare was the hieroglyphic of eyes that are open...and signified the moral illumination revealed to the neophytes in their contemplation of the infinite. During his initiation the candidate passed through scenes of utter darkness and at length, at the end of his ordeals, emerged into a brilliantly illuminated sanctum sanctorum; here he was said to have attained pure and perfect light, and received those final, necessary instructions that invested him with that knowledge of divine truth...
And so it is that when we come to Masonry we find the candidate is one who comes from darkness into Light....About him he sees implements and symbols of Light. He comprehends what is base and unworthy; he learns what is good and useful; he associates wrong and violence with darkness, and those things which help and refresh men with the fullness of the day. He begins to grasp some of the fundamentals of living; reverence for God, the source of all vision; truth, needing no dark and devious paths for its triumph; fortitude, made possible because he has come to understand the relative values of things as they are; justice, to make the day more perfect; industry, to make the day more beautiful; love and sympathy for his fellow-man whose tragedy and unhappiness are so largely due to blindness of soul. Thus does he arrive at his sacred place and becomes a veritable 'Son of Light.'
Details 7 :
But not by being a mere witness does a candidate become a 'Son of Light.' So long as the experiences of his candidacy remain external to him, they bring him little nearer to true Masonic light, but if all he sees in the ritual is a perfect exemplification, his attention will only be temporarily held....He may not understand the real significance of what he hears and sees; he may not desire to learn, or be too apathetic to try, but, whatever the reason, or the excuse, if he stands in the Light without letting it enter his soul and strike there a responsive spark, he catches no vision.
Now, we today are the residuary legatees of all the rich heritage handed down to us from our glorious past - of Masonic Light. If we would be true to all that we have received from our fathers, we must pass on our Light - practically, effectively, lastingly, to those who are coming after us....Are these men who come through our inner doors...are they staying to settle down and to help with the work, or do they witness a Degree conferred, or two, and then pass on, seldom heard from again?
Details 8 :
If the candidate is one who does receive his Degrees, only soon to be lost sight of, what of his Brethren among whom he finds himself? Isn't it our obligation to see that the Light of Masonry gets through to the candidate?...In the man kneeling before the Altar are great potentialities, and no word or act should detract from the dignity of the occasion upon which he is brought to Light...The Master should forget everything but this new seeker after Light. He should worry less about the letter-perfection of his own performance, and more about the soul he is putting into it - his great anxiety should be as to the effect which he is producing on the man in front of him.
Our coaching of the candidate in the lectures of the first two Degrees only scratches the surface. Do we realize that when the candidate is raised only the groundwork of his Masonry has been laid? Do we understand how little he really knows? Do we afterwards follow him through to see what impression has been made? how clear things are to him? what he wants explained? how serious is he towards the future? and how best and most interestingly Masonic history and philosophy may be opened up to him? Do we give enough of our Lodge nights to explanatory, illuminating and persuasive talks on Masonry? Do we disseminate our Masonic literature by book or magazine as a formal duty? This matter of placing Masonic light actually and practically in the heart of the Mason is of vital importance. Upon it depends the future life and success of our Craft. A two-fold purpose is served by it: the way before the man himself is made plain by it, and the candidate in turn becomes a guiding beacon for others. It is a slow and never-ending process; it must be thoughtfully undertaken and continually persisted in - but a single man-product of it is worth all the effort. Groups of such men-products in our communities preserve and advance our civilization.
"An y organization today that depends upon its ministrations to the unseen and intangible elements in the lives of its members for its grip upon them, finds itself met on every side by contending forces that frequently hold forth very material temptations and that are highly competitive. In casting about for means to overcome its opposition, is not Light Masonry's very best weapon?
"There came a time in the life of the Apostle Paul when he was called upon to write a letter of instruction and encouragement to the church at Rome. This church was composed of a few struggling members. At the heart of a huge pagan Empire it seemed probable that they would be engulfed...But Paul believed that they possessed an irresistible weapon in the Light which they had seen and absorbed. From his point of view they were simply standing at the threshold of a great opportunity, bound to succeed if they carried this Light in their hearts. The pith of his admonition and cheer to them remains a message for modern Masonry,
"The day is at hand; let us put on the armor of light."
(Hellings , 1930)
Details 9 :

Please view the biographical sketch of Past Grand Master Hellings in the Gallery of Grand Masters.
No Further Data :
Hellings, Dana B., The Armor of Light, The New York Masonic Outlook, The Board of General Activities of the Grand Lodge of New York, Boonville, NY, 1930;
Kalb, Dave, The Avenger Archives website, 2004;
Weinberg, Robert, A Biographical Dictionary of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists, Greenwood Press, New York, 1988 [Please see this reference for a listing of Orban's published works.]
References :
Camera: Canon Digital Rebel EOS; Lighting: Eiko Supreme Photoflood ECA 120 volt; Editing: Adobe Photoshop; Rule: 1 centimeter black white ruler; Photographer: Catherine M. Walter; Image, Data and Research: Courtesy of the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of Grand Lodge, New York
OCLC number :
Date created :
Date modified :
Filename :

A64-148; Painting, by Paul Orban, man and light