Another mystery solved, once again by a valued colleague. On December 24th I posted this image of George and Alice Pratt Brown on Christmas Eve, 1976:
I’ve looked wistfully at this photograph for many years, wishing I could see the entire painting over Mr. Brown’s shoulder. Apparently I should have mentioned this sooner because David Bynog, head of acquisitions at Fondren, knew exactly what he was looking at:
Please find attached scans of the Hans Hofmann painting that is hanging behind the Browns in your Rice History post of December 24, 2020 (both an image of only the painting as well as fuller details from his Catalogue Raisonne in the PDF). Enjoy!
I was frankly dazzled that David was able to identify the painting from just that piece of the corner so I asked him how he did it. The simple, matter-of-fact response speaks to both a deeply serious and thoughtful love of art and what I have observed over the years as his genuine desire to help people:
I could tell it was a Hofmann painting from the visible corner. A google search on the artist did not turn up any matches, so I went to see what books on the artist we had. Fortunately we had a Catalogue Raisonne for him (which should include all of his known paintings), so it was just a matter of flipping through the books to find a match.
I’m so very grateful to David and I hope he enjoyed tracking this down as much as I’ve enjoyed learning about it. I can’t help but wonder where the painting is right now.
Bonus: Still thinking about trees.