Acrylic on Canvas Portrait "First Class Petty Officer" by Helen Mahaffey C.1942-1959



This is an original acrylic portrait on canvas of a "First Class Petty Officer" a US Naval officer in his formal dress uniform by artist Helen Mahaffey. The painting depicts an enlisted sailor between 1942 and 1959, which can be deduced from the patch on his uniform. It presents a conventional and whimsical portrait. The style is characterized by the careful balance of color, lighting and mood. The artwork has been framed in a gold decorative frame typical of the mid-century period.

  • CREATOR Helen Mahaffey (artist)
  • DATE OF MANUFACTURE c.1942-1959
  • MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES Acrylic on Panel, Gold Frame.
  • CONDITION Excellent. Wear consistent with age. Painting in excellent condition, frame in good with minor structural damage. 
  • DIMENSIONS H 29  in. x W 23.5 in. x D  2.25 in.


The left arm patch depicts an enlisted Aviation Radioman First Class.  Radioman (radio operator) is depicted by three lightening bolts and the addition of wings to the lightening bolts makes him an Aviation Radioman.  Three red stripes indicate that he is a First Class Petty Officer (E-6), one step below Chief Petty Officer.  From 1942 to 1948 he would have been called an Aviation Radioman First Class (ARM 1). In 1948 the rating was renamed Aviation Electronicsman (AL 1) and the winged lightening bolts retained.  In 1959 the rate  was merged into the Aviation Electronic Technician (AT) rating. 
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