The Hasidic Riot in Brooklyn &The House Next Door by Dale Wittig, 1984
I made the mistake of storing some paintings at a friend’s farm in Vermont that has long functioned as a theater (with many folk coming and going fairly regularly) about twenty five years ago, after a show nearby, and (given the way things are always getting shifted around there) it’s not all that surprising that this group of paintings disappeared. I should have made a point of retrieving them the first time someone mentioned coming across them. Now it seems they’re irretrievable. (I like to think that these priceless works, all of them meticulously painted in oil on canvas, wound up on one of their frequent bonfires.) Fortunately the preparatory drawings for most of them survive, and as I’m rather fond of a few of these pieces, I thought it would be good to look at two of these groups of studies. I’ve always liked that the Hasidim don’t take well to bullying from the Police and have shown themselves capable of riot on numerous occasions.
The other picture dealt with a boy who shot and killed his abusive father (in a nearby town in Connecticut) supposedly in order to protect his mother and younger sister. I chose to imagine it happening next door and used my next door neighbor’s house as a model. Both of these pictures were done almost exactly thirty years ago.