Who is the subject of this painting?
October 20, 2013 11:29 AM   Subscribe

My great aunt recently passed away, and I was given this painting that she made. I know this is probably a wild goose chase, but I would love to figure out who is the subject.

The painting is unsigned and there is nothing written on the front or back. It was probably done sometime between the late 40s to late 50s. My aunt worked as a commercial artist for a Detroit ad agency called Ross Roy, and we suspect this is work that she did there. A lot of her work was for the auto industry, including both Ford and GM (for example, she did the artwork for this ad). Perhaps this is a portrait of an automotive executive (or other Detroit area businessman)? She did go to art school in New York City, and its not impossible that this was painted while she was there, but it would most likely have been signed in that case. My mother is fairly certain that this is not someone that she knew socially.

I tried reverse image searches (Google and Tineye) on the chance that this was used in a publication that is online somewhere, but didn't find anything. Its obviously a long shot that anybody would recognize him directly, but perhaps there are recommendations for other places to look or strategies for finding more clues. Any guesses for what purpose such a painting would have been commissioned, given that my aunt kept the original?
posted by jpdoane to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Sorry, I screwed up the link - this is the ad that we know she worked on. We have her original drawing of the car.
posted by jpdoane at 11:34 AM on October 20, 2013

Ford has a museum and archive. You could try contacting the Benson Ford Research Center in case they might recognize the person as an employee. GM has an archive as well.
posted by gudrun at 11:45 AM on October 20, 2013

Best answer: This looks like Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under Truman
posted by Raybun at 11:58 AM on October 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Here's Dean Acheson on the cover of Life. Your great-aunt did lovely work.
posted by kmennie at 12:00 PM on October 20, 2013 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks guys!
posted by jpdoane at 12:11 PM on October 20, 2013

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