Monday, December 8, 2008

A. Brunning, Schoolboy


The human face is always incredibly interesting to me. There was something very pleasant about this boy's face, and I liked the colors, and style. It was up for auction on eBay last year in Amsterdam and for some reason, hardly anyone bid against me and I actually won it!


It is signed A. Hodgkinson, 1943. There is a label on the back that reads, "A. Brunning, A Schoolboy" and another label, "James Bourlet & Sons, Ltd., Fine Art Packers & Frame Makers, 17 & 18 Nassau St."
After a little online research, I found that Alexander Hodgkinson was a British artist and Bourlet Co. was, and still is, in Manhattan. The rest is a mystery. 


I would absolutely love to know more about this A. Brunning, who, if he is still around, would be about 75 to 80 years old now. If you are out there, Mr. Brunning, I have your portrait and would very much like to meet you. I've been thinking about you all afternoon, while your portrait watched over me, decorating the tree.


Willow Manor 2008


The true portrait of a man
is a fusion of what he thinks he is,
what others think he is,
what he really is and what he tries to be.

60 comments:

  1. Beautiful tree & beautiful blog!

    I am new to your blog and so
    I am very glad I ran across it!

    ~kimme

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  2. It's a wonderful painting. Lucky you for finding it and being the top bidder! I hope you will be able to find Mr. Hodgkinson!

    Next weekend-a tree for us!

    Yours is lovely!

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  3. i like the painting, but i've never been too fond of many artists hands

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  4. What a fascinating mystery.
    I do hope the blogosphere reveals all. It may well you know.
    Your tree looks lovely.........
    As regards OBLOGATION - you should pretty much go on as you ever do.
    I think blogs should b spontaneous and not overthought.
    Greetings for a splendid week.

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  5. Love your painting and your tree (beautiful photo)!

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  6. Beautiful tree. Don't you just love all the symbols of Christmas and the Christmas Spirit. What a wonderful blog.

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  7. Brunning is such an unusual name that it should be easier to find than if the name was something like Smith. Presumably you have tried typing it into google. I have looked in our North of England telephone directory and there isn't a single person called Brunning. Wouldn't it be lovely to find him? Love your tree!

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  8. It looks as if you have the perfect location for your tree, and that is a very interesting portrait. If A. Bruning doesn't see it, perhaps a member of his family will.

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  9. I always think it is such a shame when paintings like that go out of the family domain. I hope someone who knows of them happens to look at your lovely blog and then - hey - who knows; it could be the stuff of films - what happened next?

    Great tree

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  10. He DOES have an interesting look about him, Willow--how lucky you snagged that find! It would be fabulous if you actually heard from him or someone who recognized him. Your tree looks so festive. Lovely!

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  11. Such a face this 'schoolboy' has, perhaps wise beyond his years...

    Enjoy your merry tree-making, as rain turns to ice on my parade in Ioway...

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  12. Quite intriguing!! Such a mystery, I hope it is solved for you.

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  13. I love the painting and agree with you that the boy's face is very moving. I inherited from my grandparents a portrait of a woman whose face speaks to me in much the same way -- she mesmerized me from the very first time I laid my baby eyes on her and continues to have her same mysterious hold on my imagination even today as she hangs in my dining room. I would love to learn more about her, but the back does not seem to contain any useful clues. You have inspired me to take another, closer look. (: )

    Your tree looks fabulous. I have a very high bar for what constitutes enough lights on a Christmas tree, but your tree-lighting job passes with flying colors.

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  14. Can you still see the forest through all the comenTrees?

    Yes, lame. Couldn't help it.

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  15. Wow- you totally scored with that purchase! That is beautiful and I also am intrigued by the expression on the lad's face. Very sweet, looking as though he is listening to something being said that is particulary endearing to him. Good job, you- I have purchased some art on ebay but never this lucky!
    THAT is YOUR tree??? GORGEOUS! Ours is a stick.

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  16. oh Willow, I can see why you bid on this painting - it reeks with personal history - I really like it - your Christmas tree is just fabulous!

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  17. Wouldn't that be an adventure and a delight if you could find A. Brunning? Wow. What a story!

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  18. Your tree is beautiful...the house must be full of holiday spirit...now the wrapping!
    The portrait is very interesting and wouldn't it be something special if family were to contact you...let us know!

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  19. Your tree is just breathtaking Willow!

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  20. http://usadastangas.blogspot.com/

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  21. Lovely... so perfectly 'Willow' .. BTW I met Elizabeth Wix for tea (which ended up being cafe au laits) on Sunday ..

    :-Daryl

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  22. Lovely painting - exactly the sort of work I would bid on myself. Your tree is gorgeous and so bright!
    It really starts to "look a lot like Christmas" when the tree goes up, doesn't it?

    Kat

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  23. Oh, your post was so lovely. Made me think about Mr. Hodgkinson...and his lovely hair! Look at that hair. I hope my daughter has beautiful curls like him.

    Stunning tree, by the way.

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  24. A thoughtful painting and a mystery too!

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  25. What a lovely find today! Your blog is so warm and inviting.

    Is that an icon I spy just behind your tree? Blessings to you and yours for a very merry Christmas!

    amy

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  26. gorgeous painting. he has so much emotion in his face. and i love the palette. great find!~

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  27. Intriguing mystery there, Willow, and what great taste in paintings you have. I hope you find A. Brunning wherever he/she is.

    Your Christmas tree is gorgeous!!

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  28. What a wonderful purchase! A. Brunning looks apologetic to me. I wonder what kind of grades he got.

    What a wonderful tree! It is just gorgeous. How tall is it?

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  29. Looks like you are in the Yuletide spirit at the Manor. Beautiful tree. Hope the old Indian doesn't get jealous of your new painting. Pappy

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  30. I really like the quote, and will think about that whenever I look at portraits in future! I wonder which artists have achieved this the most?

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  31. Love your painting and your tree (beautiful photo)!

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  32. What a wonderful blog. I'm so glad I ran across it.

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  33. eexcellent painting

    I'm yet to venture the world of ebaying (is that a real word? if not, from this moment it is :)

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  34. Willow,
    Your tree is stunning!! Grandma would be proud of your talents you share on your blog!
    Merry Christmas, from....
    The Bach

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  35. Dahhling, I believe you've forgotten the star! Or were you saving that for Christmas eve? Knowing you, you'd be all over such traditions :)

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  36. Willow, Oh I pray the artist finds you. In our world of the internet I believe you will hear from him. Your tree looks absolutely beautiful. So pretty. That is such a neat picture and you were fortunate to have the winning bid. You go girl.

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  37. There's something about a painting done by a painter who's not well known. They have so much character. Your tree is beautiful. You spend alot of time on your blog and it shows. It has a personality and character all it's own. I wish I had more time to spend on mine. Don't change a thing. It oozes with the charm of Willow Manor.

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  38. please keep us posted on this story line, willow! i am so hoping that either the artist or his family will contact you. it really is a wonderful painting.

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  39. He does look very pleasant - seems to be contemplating what he is reading.

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  40. Hi Willow,
    I saw your comment on Japonisme and came to visit. What a delightful blog you have.

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  41. Geeze, it's so great that you get so many comments! Good for you and your beautiful blog. The tree is stunning!
    Glad you took a picture of it for us to see.

    It's fascinating to be able to hunt down the mystery behind a painting you buy on auction or find at a garage sale or in someone's attic (the old equivalent of finding it on Ebay, in a foreign country no less). I have done it once or twice. It's such a lasting thing, paintings -- they can end up in all kinds of places with all kinds of owners. The fact that that can go on for hundreds of years is fascinating.

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  42. Lucky you. It's great when you don't have too many bids against you!

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  43. What an intriguing image of that boy. I can just imagine you imagining what ever came of him. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you found out? Being a "blogger of note" now, it's a good time to begin to ask out loud. Who knows, someone here might know something that leads you to someone, etc. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    Love your tree, btw. haunting lighting.

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  44. Everything is illuminated!

    Doesn't that boy have a kind, sensitive face? I like the rich black and red fabric backdrop, too.

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  45. Interesting story, would make a great novel!

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  46. I love the calmness and composure in this picture. Great choice.

    And the tree looks good, too.

    Greetings from London.

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  47. that story is crazy! i wonder if they plucked both eyes at the same time, or if they did em one at a time...

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  48. Very true, very beautiful.

    Always a pleasure when I visit this site.

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  49. So perfectly placed among the Icons...

    Beautiful tree!

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  50. Gorgeous tree Willow, you have such a wonderful eye! I'll be arriving soon with the kittens for cabbage casserole and red wine. I'll bring the wine and some christmas cookies.

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  51. I am new to bogging. Love your blog and wonderful Christmas Tree.

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  52. Willow -
    I'm not familiar with Nassau St. in New York but the main street in Princeton, which Princeton University faces, is Nassau St. Perhaps that is another clue. Also - It's funny, I've been known to ask people if they know who Dore Schary is (they never do). The reason? I have an exquisite black lace mantilla he brought back from Spain and gave to my Aunt
    who lived in NYC. She was a friend of - I think, his daughter or niece. Not sure. It's one of those treasures that will show up on my blog someday! Wonderful portrait. Lucky you.
    Catherine

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  53. Your tree has the romance of a beautiful timeless but classic Christmas. I discovered your blog today and I enjoyed so many of the postings. I started a blog in October this year and I am fascinated to see the different blogger approaches, designs and themes. Your blog has the atmosphere of a cozy day with an elegant witty and unpretentious friend.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)