El Paso Museum Exhibits Paintings by World’s Tallest Wine Salesman

by Bill Davenport June 11, 2012

El Paso native Jake Erlich (1906-1952), for decades known as the tallest man in the world, was also an artist. Twelve of his paintings are featured in a new exhibition, Long Shadows, that opened at the El Paso Museum of Art on Sunday. The show provides Cindy Graff Cohen of El Paso Inc. magazine a perfect opportunity to recount the facts of Erlich’s life as an actor and sideshow attraction (with Ringling Bros, under the name of Jack Earle), his art training, and his association with American modernists in the 30’s, but misses his involvement with professional golf, raising pygmy elephants, his career as a wine salesman, his four-carat diamond ring, and the most essential fact of all: he was 8’6″ tall, even without his ten gallon hat!

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