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Posted by Royal on August 14, 2004 at 17:04:08:
In 1962,a painting which was discovered in a house near Castlebar was handed into the newly opened Mayo Arts Centre which was located in the Mall,Castlebar.The painting was of a sad,young woman but instead of the usual signature at the bottom,the painting had two butterflies.This caused quite a bit of commotion because "butterflies" were the signature of the World famous Artist,James McNeil Whistler & the painting at first glance was definetly thought to have been painted by an expert.Whistler the Artist will be well known to younger people because of the Mr.Bean film but the Artist himself was born in America in 1834 & was an acquantance of Mayo born novelist George Moore,of Moore Hall.They hated each other & nearly came to blows every time they met in London.Whistler even challenged Moore to a duel but the challenge wasn't accepted.In 1865 the first butterfly signaure appeared & became an important detail in all his paintings & even replaced his ordinary signature in correspondence.
The painting if found to be by Whistler,would in 1962 estimated to be twenty or thirty thousand pounds.
The Curator at the time Miss Lola Kelly was reported to be carrying out widespread research to try & establish the identity of the artist.
There was a General Election on after this newspaper report appeared in Sept.1962 & there was no follow up report so two questions arise:
1) Who actually painted the picture?
2) What happened to it?
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