This fantastic 1958 Louis Bunce (1907 – 1983) painting has blithly hung in the Portland International Airport mall for decades – which is actually not a bad place to kill time.

About 25 x 35, it’s not currently well lit and is set, as you can see, above the entrance to a Coffee People. (Is that part of the lease agreement? The decoration is worth more than the annual revenue!)

Cool! This site reviews airports and mentions the Bunce, as well as artworks by Jack Portland, Larry Kirkland and Pete Beeman.

Bunce gave a long interview to Rachel Rosenfield Lafo in 1982. Very interesting.

Bunce showed at the Heller and Meltzer galleries in NYC during the 1950s. His catalogue keeps going and is repped by Laura Russo Gallery. His work is in dozens of collections all over the world. He traveled the world too – meeting the great poets and artists of the day.

And then he came back to Portland.

When you look at this painting its important to remember Portland in the late fifties was a rough, blue collar town with no galleries, no night life, where the museum was run by the Arlington Club fellows, where the news was manufactured by lumber lobbyists and where the cops + politicans were if not crooked, certainly looking the other way.

It takes both a certain kind of courage and a certain kinds of dedication to remain in the provinces. A small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond? Who shall I be? But for Portland this wasn’t the right question. There were no fish and this wasn’t even a pond at all. What did his neighbors think? My his mother must have worried!

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