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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Folk Art: Folk Painting: 2 Dogs--3 BANDSMEN; and camera
2 Dogs--3 BANDSMEN; and camera


2 Dogs--3 BANDSMEN; and camera
1963
Jon Serl
oil on fiberboard
overall: 69 1/4 x 22 in. (176.0 x 55.9 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson
1986.65.138

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Hear more about 2 Dogs--3 BANDSMEN 1.4MB

"My paintings are not complicated, but they have a soul in them." Jon Serl, "Inside the Outsiders," Art and Antiques, Summer 1990

Jon Serl lived an isolated life in Capistrano, California, avoiding interaction with other people whenever possible. He never planned his paintings but just put down on the canvas whatever came into his head, describing each one as a "discovery" (Robert L. Pincus, "The World According to Serl," The San Diego Union, January 18, 1987). This image of three figures and two dogs was inspired by a group of young boys who were pestering the artist. To keep the children occupied, he told one of them to lie on an old piece of board. When he saw what it looked like, Serl decided it "had to live" and so painted the image onto the wood, adding colorful costumes to the figures to evoke a trio of musicians. (Phone conversation with the artist, September 21, 1989)

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