This piece has been on view at the Dallas Museum of Art for some time and I have visited it quiet often. I keep expecting to show up and finding it gone…….back into storage. Just like in my last blog where I posted a video that Texas A&M’s J. Wayne Stark Galleries produced about my piece “Walking Man,” most artwork in museums collections are stored away until they are displayed.
This piece was so important in so many ways to me as an artist. Most obvious is that it is a piece about my family. The piece offers up a little slice of what the Delabano household was like in 1963. It was the year before my brother’s death. I have always held the deepest respect for my parents. Despite knowing that my brother would soon pass away from the Cystic fibrosis that was taking it’s toll on his body, they carried on in a digified way, We continued to do what we had done as a family for as long as I can remember.
In this piece my brother is to my mother’s left. It has three frames attached to a red board. The body is broken up the three frames to represent his broken body. In his hands he has a sketchbook and he is drawing a picture of J.F.K.. I photocopied an actual drawing my brother had done from a sketchbook.
I’m the little guy at my mother’s feet. I am holding a piece of my original blanket, my “Friend” and holding a stance of “Big Tex”. Also represented in the piece, Cracker our dachshund. My image and the image of Cracker came from a drawing of mine I did as a small boy.
My mother is the model this time around. I often tell people that the Delabano’s had family paintings like a lot of families have family photographs. My mother was the real rock during this time and after my brother’s death.
The piece has been installed in the “Creative Connections” gallery at the DMA and they have used it extensively in talking about families in the arts. On the DMA’s blog: “DMA CANVAS” they used it to blog about objects that artist use and in particular the “Chair” my mother is seated in. They compare it to the “Chair” my father used in his “Portrait of Papa,” which is also in the DMA’s collection. It’s a wonderful read…..here is that link. DMA CANVAS
This piece was a watershed piece for me and am so thankful to Eleanor Harvey, the DMA’s curator of American art at the time, who sheparded the piece into the collection. The three couples who bought the piece for the collection were all wonderful early supporters of mine. Unfortunately, Sonny Burt, Bob Butler, Lorene Gibson and Nancy Hanley are no longer with us.
So I imagine that soon the piece will go back into storage and it won’t see the light of day until another museum ask to borrow it or until it goes back on display. Until it does however, I so enjoy going by and paying my respects to my father.