Ronald Trent Anderson

Going Home
19” x 27”

  A Story About This Painting

On September 20th I received an email from a woman, who lives in suburban Atlanta. The email stated that she and her husband had bought an original painting of mine in an area antique store ten years ago. “For so long after we purchased the painting,” she added, “we had our own interpretations . . . its so full of emotion and intensity – just wonderful.”

She decided to research the painting online but was unable to find information on it. She asked me if I could provide some for her. On the back of the frame, she said, was a black label reading simply Going Home. Instantly, I became so excited that I could hardly contain myself. The painting’s title triggered so many memories that I hardly knew where to begin.

I told her that Going Home was painted in Park Forest, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, during the winter of 1967.The previous year a surprise blizzard dumped more than two feet of snow on Chicago, paralyzing the city and its suburbs for several days. The snowstorm was one of the most memorable experiences my wife, Barbara, and I had in that area and undoubtedly influenced my painting.

She was interested in learning that the painting was created by juxtaposing two unrelated snapshots: an upstate New York railroad station together with a lone figure trudging in the
snow. I began developing the snowfall during Going Home’s initial stages. The painting went well until it neared completion. Then I encountered a stalemate. It sat unfinished in the corner of my studio for more than a month. During a late winter snowfall, I discovered the solution . . . a triangular shape of drifting snow in the foreground pulled the painting together and I finally sang its praises.

Going Home was included in my one person exhibition at Milwaukee’s Dorothy Bradley Gallery that April. Two months later Dr. Steven Grossman, a Chicago physician, fell in love with the work at the 57th Street Art Fair in Chicago. After purchasing the painting, Dr. Grossman invited me to see his art collection in his fashionable apartment on Lakeshore Drive. As we viewed the works, I remember him proudly telling me: “as you can see, you’re painting is in good company.”

After leaving his apartment I experienced an empty feeling. I began realizing that I had parted with an exceptional work. Going Home had successfully challenged me beyond my natural level. What really bothered me was the fact that the painting had never been photographed in color. The only photo I had of it was a black and white snapshot taken shortly after it was sold. Dr. Grossman eventually left Chicago and I completely lost touch with him.

Almost forty years went by. In 2006 the University of Wisconsin held a retrospective exhibition of my work. Many pieces were on loan from private and public collections. The only significant painting missing from my show was Going Home. I often thought about it, wondering whether it was still in existence. Barbara was more optimistic. She assured me that over time someone would eventually contact me about the work, probably through my website. She was right.

The Atlanta woman isn’t an art collector, but confesses to “being drawn to things that she likes.” She was excited about all the details I provided for her. I also explained that the painting had never been photographed in color. Could we somehow get it digitally scanned? She said that she would be happy to accommodate my wishes but didn’t know much about digital scanning. Instead, she graciously volunteered to send the work, enabling me to have it done by Giclee Of New England. The outcome has provided us with the most accurate image possible.