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The painting depicts a nostalgic scene of Pearl & Fannin street in Beaumont, Texas during a wet December evening in the early 1950s. The setting evokes the Art Deco era, with its theaters and variety stores such as Kress's and Neisners, which sold American-made toys such as model trains and metal dollhouses, as well as "Occupied Japan" made Dick Tracy squad cars.
One of the storefronts, Thames #1, can be seen offering popular products of the time such as Ipana toothpaste, Toni Home Permanent, and the radio jingle "Halo Everybody Halo..." The painting captures a moment before the advent of suburban shopping centers, which would eventually replace the bustling street scene depicted. The street photographer, a common sight of the era, can be seen capturing the scene on film, a reminder of a time before the migration to mall photography.
The cars and appliances of the time are also depicted, showcasing the "streamlined" aesthetic of the era. The painting also foreshadows the cultural shift that was to come, as the popularity of figures such as Elvis Presley, who made his debut on the Ed Sullivan Show, would soon eclipse the popularity of the "streamlined" cars and toasters.
The painting also touches on the advancements in technology and science that were taking place during this time. The artist references George Pal's realistic approach to the 1950 film "Destination Moon," which predicted the eventual Apollo moon landing and had people looking skyward. The painting also features a Tucker car, a futuristic vehicle that was ahead of its time.
The artist also notes their research and attention to historical detail in the painting, such as the inclusion of the Hudson car, which dominated the NASCAR circuits in the early 1950s, and the Western Flyer bicycle, which was known for its weight. The details of the Kress & Co. store window, such as the Chinese checkers, Clue, and Sorry games, are also taken from magazine ads from 1951, and the artist's personal experience working for Westinghouse for 42 years is reflected in the inclusion of the Westinghouse roaster oven in the painting.
Description by the Artist
Watch this video presentation by the artist describing the painting process, the research, and the hidden trivia in the painting.
The original painting is 36x24" on masonite panel, completed in 1994.
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