Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The rising wave neer the land

"The rising wave neer the land, the water cover the beach sand" was painted by Anthony De Bernardin, an Italian immigrant who lived in Unity, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh, where he operated a variety store. The store did poorly because De Bernardin was unfriendly, thinking people were trying to steal from him. When De Bernardin died in 1972 he left his miniscule life savings to a female  grocery store clerk (M.F.), who was unaware the older man was obsessed with her. She is depicted in many of his paintings with a child's face and a woman's body. Another odd feature of De Bernardin's art is puzzling phrases such as "Up the deep blue river is no work for the beaver." Seven years after De Bernardin's demise, the Carnegie Institute Museum of Art showed 17 of his paintings, but he remains a relatively unknown artist. Describing De Bernardin's last hours, an old Pittsburgh Press article said police broke into his home after neighbors expressed concern and found him lying next to a mural he had painted showing his mountainous birthplace in Italy, populated with flowers and women.

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