Claude Buck (1890-1974),
Artist's Wife, c.1935, oil on masonite, 71 7/8 x 47 13/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Leslie Buck.
Claude Buck often painted gritty urbanism during the depression, but not so in this portrait of his wife, Leslie, who was both his frequent model and an artist herself. Here, Buck foregoes a naturalistic setting. Leslie’s statuesque elegance is surrounded by foliate patterns on the backdrop, carpet, and a vase inscribed with geometric flowers containing (what else?) additional blooms. Her botanical gown conforms to an hourglass figure before splaying bell-shaped to the floor. Her comely profile is reinforced by a curvaceous sash of cream from her shoulder to the floor--the very same bisque-porcelain hue of her face, neck, and arms. In contrast to the prismatic blooms, is Leslie’s expression, sober and in shadow, a reflection her own mood, or that of her husband?