If the infant in that painting looks familiar, that’s because it’s me at around six months of age.
It’s a painting that was always hanging in our living room as I was growing up, and a few years ago I decided to have it reframed.
There’s a story to go with it, of course, but I only know the bare outline of the story as stupid me waited until there was no longer anyone around who could answer any of my questions. So here is the brief outline.
My parents had a Christmas card printed up with a photo of me and sent it out to all the relatives and anyone else on their Christmas card list in the year of 1949, and I assume they had quite an extensive list that year. Here’s a copy of the card:
One of the relatives they sent it to was my uncle Neal, my mother’s brother, who was stationed in Okinawa at the time.
He gave it to what I assume was a street artist who created that painting on a piece of fine silk, after which Neal mailed it off to my parents.
I have no idea how much Neal may have paid for it, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was only a couple of bucks. In any case that street artist, and I’m assuming it was a street artist, maybe it actually was a studio artist, but could Neal have afforded a more expensive artist on a serviceman’s salary? Anyway, that artist, whoever it was, created that vivid lifelike color paining from the black and white photo. Nothing short of amazing whoever it was.
By the time I thought to ask for any details about it, Neal was gone, and his wife Fumiko, whom he met in Okinawa, said he had it done before he met her, so she couldn’t shed any light on it.