The Haunted Still Life
This is a very old and fragile painting that was damaged and has since been restored. It lay for years in storage out on a desert rancho. It appears to be a sangria still life with a baroque silver pitcher and a Chinese porcelain bowl of sangria citrus. One of the lemons is wrapped in patterned tissue paper and there is a dark red plum in the bowl as well. A wine glass containing water is perched atop a cupid candlestick. There is wine in the pitcher which is reflected on the underside of the top.
The cupid who holds a bow gives a clue that this piece concerns love, but from the other sinister elements hidden on the table, it seems to have been a love gone wrong. The first clue is the grotesque tragedy mask in the silver, and there is a profile of an old man with a white beard under the base of the handle. The next more obvious symbol is the black flower, the artist had a rainbow of colors to choose from, but chose black. In the right hand lower corner is a ring turned face down and there is blood coming from underneath it – not a good sign. On the other side of the table in the lower left, sits a small scorpion in the shadows – the tiny scorpions are the most deadly. The signature reads “Gibsen” which is a variation of the Scottish name “Gibson”.
This picture was found in Tucson, Arizona and was most likely painted here. It is ostensibly a southwestern still-life, but it tells the tale of a broken heart or possibly worse involving death – perhaps a homicide. It is an exceptional work of art, the silver pitcher is completely unique. The base resembles a silver horse`s hoof. It is just the right size for a couple of glasses of fruit and wine punch, Spanish Sangria.
For years I have been looking for someone to appreciate this canvas the way I do. I believe it portrays the same mood as the Desert Noir theme. The original is as fragile as a potato chip, but these photos convey the spirit expressed by the sorrowful artist. Could it have been painted by a woman?
MJA Mary 5/10/10