Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Portrait by Justin McCarthy

Justin McCarthy was the son of a wealthy newspaper editor (when that was possible), which perhaps explains why he drew so many celebrities. This stellar portrait, however, is not a celebrity but a friend, France Bufford. When McCarthy's brother, the one preferred by the father, died suddenly of pneumonia in 1907, the family moved to Europe, where McCarthy spent countless hours in art museums. About a year after the son's death, the father died, possibly a suicide. Back in the states, McCarthy attempted to become a lawyer but suffered a nervous breakdown and spent five years in a hospital for the insane, where he began to draw. More than 40 years later, in 1962, artists and collectors Dorothy and Sterling Strauser saw McCarthy's paintings displayed on a lawn at an art fair in Stroudsburg, Pa., and worked to bring him the recognition he deserved.

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