Thursday, January 10, 2008


She was always a mystery. Other items on the walls where I spent a lot of time as a kid were recognizable. There were oil, pastel, acrylic, and watercolor works of no great distinction done by friends of the house, several of them depicting the local surroundings. There was a very large oil painting of a farewell in the nineteenth century; was the son going to war? to the big city? was it a copy of a well-known print or painting of the time? There was a panoramic souvenir of the cast of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show from some era or another, most posed on horseback and some in plains feather bonnets. There was a large fraktur-like poster of the ages of man. There was a print of the drawbridge painted by van Gogh. There was a print of The Angelus. And there was a print of the head of a woman in a red head-covering. I never saw it in any art-appreciation books. I always assumed that the original may have been a pre-Raphaelite something-or-other. Now I know that it's a copy of an original by French painter Jean-Jacques Henner. The subject is Saint Fabiola and the original work has somehow vanished. There's an exhibition at the Hispanic Society in Manhattan of a collection of copies of the Saint Fabiola painting. This is one of life's little mysteries solved.


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