Two Auld Wifies, Dundee by Ron Stenberg
Oil on canvas, 1982
© Ron Stenberg
Stenberg's double portrait highlights the dangers of judging by appearances and uncovers a poignant story of a mother's enduring love. Following an appeal for information, the sitter on the left was quickly identified as Mrs Janet Isles-Denny. Rather than gossiping with an auld wifie, she was out with her beloved son Alexander, a long-term resident of Dundee's Royal Lift Hospital. Despite giving the work its evocative title, Stenberg nevertheless painted what he had observed. Rather than two women, it is clear that Alexander is a man - note the position of his coat buttons and the size of his hands and feet. In a final twist to a remarkable tale, the woman who the artist believed was a modest Hilltown housewife, left her substantial estate to establish a Trust to benefit the people of Dundee.
Thank you Dundee Art Galleries and Museums for providing the image. Text from McManus Art Gallery and Museum, Dundee.
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