June 8, 2011

Mourning Picture

"Mourning Picture"

The artist Edwin Elmer painted this "Mourning Picture" after his nine-year-old daughter died of appendicitis.

A surreal remembrance, taut with grief

The force of the loss overwhelmed Mary. Intent on abandoning the house, the couple packed up Effie’s toys and gave away her pets.

Presumably, they were trying to forget — or at least to escape the clutch of the memories the house and Effie’s belongings all held. But before they left, Elmer felt he needed also to remember. (The lurching human soul forever contradicting itself!) So he painted this strange, haunted picture, which seems stretched so tight that it might crumble at the slightest touch.
Posted by Jill Fallon at June 8, 2011 9:35 AM | Permalink