Thursday, August 28, 2008
The mysterious D.W. Britt
Going to the Tamsky gallery a few weeks ago started me thinking about a painting I bought in an antique store in Bristol many years ago. I don't really collect art, which I know is hypocritical of me, but I guess it's because my walls have always been full of paintings, even if they are my own. Something about this portrait really got to me though. I love the look of intensity on the woman's face, the saturated red color, and the way the space is broken up. I imagine she is working in an art school in the forties, but I really don't know. I also get a kick out of her accessories. The handful of brushes, the lit cigarette and pack outlined in her blouse pocket, the red lipstick and turban, and her engagement ring. The signature says D.W. Britt, and the canvas is signed in pencil on the back and on the stretchers, another clue that it was done in school (in defense against arts school stretcher thieves, I fell victim myself a few times). I haven't been able to find out anything about the artist, and whether it's a self portrait or done by a rebellious classmate who chose to ignore the still life assignment and paint something really interesting. The shop didn't know either, but they were very sorry to see the painting go!