Keittaa, the painting is a very colorful and lovely oil of a woman seated by herself at a table. Sort of French-looking. My daughter, who is eleven now, named her Belle, when she was 7 years old. I've always tried to find out more about him just on the Internet but I've been unsuccessful. I bought the painting on Ebay and it came with a copy of a picture of him and his family as well as a copy of a museum flyer where his paintings were shown in Virginia that had his bio on it so that is where I got the only information I can find on him.
The frame is very old, older even than the painting and looks like it came from somewhere else. It is very ornate, three-dimensional and valuable. It has the name of "Will Barnet" on it. Will Barnet is a very famous artist who is alive to this day and supposedly was a friend from the Art Students League in NYC. He became extremely famous and apparently let this painting go at some point and it came up for sale. Even though Ira Custis Brooks is not a famous painter, the painting "spoke" to me as the woman has a sad and faraway look in her eye that tells a story of her life. A woman alone at a table is unusual in itself and I can only imagine what he must have been thinking to make up a story for her when he created the image in that era.
I am in advertising myself so when I think that someone spent their time making their living in advertising to feed their family but really wanted to be a painter I can understand. The normal model was to give up everything and live like a pauper until your paintings were sold but that was a very hard life. How many of them had children to care for? He had a very prestigious job at a famous ad agency and worked representing JWT in South America. It was probably because of the fact that he had to spend his time doing a good job at his career that he didn't have the time to put into his painting that he never got farther but I think he's pretty good. There is a lot of emotion in the work that I own. Or maybe it's just the emotion in me, but isn't that what art is all about?
Best wishes to you.
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