Perhaps the single object that points to the whimsy, pride of workmanship and the artist’s ability to create is this carved wooden pocket knife. It epitomizes the tramp artist. When I spoke with Adolph Vandertie many years ago he kept his collection of pocket knives he used for his carvings in a mahogany case with slots to fit the knives snuggly. He told me he had worn out dozens of pocket knives during his 50 plus year career. I could not believe that he wore out so many pocket knives. How would one wear out a knife? Vandertie’s son had made a wooden knife for him for his birthday one year and that was the only whimsy knife I have ever seen. This wonderful crafted example has four working blades and is delicately carved. The details are sharp (not the blades!) and there is evidence of a signature but it is illegible.
I would date the pocketknife to the 1920s – 1930s.
USA 20th c.