Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mrs. Marjorie Metz

I could not find any spot – in the big group of paintings posted below – for Stanley Spencer's elongated 1958 portrait of Mrs. Marjorie Metz. This picture overwhelmed any company I put it near. No doubt foreseeing this difficulty, Spencer provided Mrs. Metz with companions of her own, inside the picture. Much deep staring was required on my part before I could figure out that the maidens in the background are components of a porcelain flowerholder-with-figurines on some kind of table or other surface behind Mrs. Metz. The flowers are daffodils with tulips (maroon and black) plus several small clumps of yellow berries that function a bit like diadems in Mrs. Metz's splendid tawny hair. More flowers invade the foreground. Their source is unknown. And then there is the strapless satin dress in blue, embroidered in black, giving way to a foreshortened melodrama of green-shadowed folds at the knees. Yet all this extravagance of pattern and color, fragrance and texture subordinates itself to this village matron's creamy flesh, bare of jewels (except for those heavy, sober, matrimonial rings – third finger, left hand).