A mystery wrapped in surprises. Many years ago I was given this book of photography, The Photographer’s Choice. As I’m thumbing thru it I came across this 2nd picture:
The 3rd photo is of the picture that had been hanging in our basement since whenever. Then I thought for sure this photograph had been taken in the waiting room of my Father’s office. It had all the period correct furniture. So began my chasing this down. I found out how to get ahold of Lynne Cohen and sent this letter to her. I received a nice reply and my surmise was all wrong.
Then the next phase to find out who did this painting. Well it turns out that the copy that I have inherited is not an original :(. Nonetheless it’s a part of my visual memory growing up. I have always loved this picture. It used to hang over the upright piano in the basement. So frequently when I was bored with practicing the piano I would look up at that picture. The frame is made of worm wood and is a perfect match to the picture.
The artist for the ‘Cowboy Picture’ was Ray Strang:
Ray C. Strang (1893 in Sandoval, Illinois, United States – 1957) was an American Western artist and illustrator. He was educated in Centralia, Illinois, and attended the Art Institute of Chicago, Art Students League of New York and New York School of Fine and Applied Arts. Strang’s education was interrupted by The Great War, in which he was wounded in the Forest of Argonne. During World War II, he took part in the Consair art colony at the Tucson division of the Consolidated Aircraft corporation.
For 17 years Strang was a successful illustrator in New York for such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, The American Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, Country Home Country Gentleman and Harper’s. He created covers for Dodd, Mead and Company and other publishers. He then went West to become a well-known painter who specialized in nostalgic depictions of the Wild West and the prairie life. His paintings hung in many galleries, including Grand Central palace in New York, Bender Gallery in Kansas City, Alden Gallery in St. Louis, the Chicago Art Institute and the New York Art Center. His most famous painting was a work called “Slow Poke”, of which there were many reproductions printed.
Strang was an active member of the Fine Arts Association, Palette and Brush club and belonged to the Salmagundi Club of New York City. He had a ranch near Safford Peak in the Picture Rocks section of the Tucson Mountains, where he died in 1957. Ray Strang did many paintings including “Playmates” which is a canvas painting of two foals. He married and had a son.
Now a little about Lynne Cohen
Cohen was known for her photographs of empty institutional interiors: living rooms, public halls, retirement homes, laboratories, offices, showrooms, shooting ranges, factories, spas, and military installations. Despite this interest in living and working spaces, Cohen’s photographs are usually devoid of human presence.She photographed using an 8 x 10” view camera, allowing her to capture great detail, and create very large prints beginning in the mid-eighties. Her work has been published in catalogues such as Occupied Territory (1987) and No Man’s Land (2001).In one of her last monographs, Cohen described a major goal in her work, a “long-standing preoccupation with formal, intellectual and ideological camouflage.”