Funeral at Woodford
61 cm x 76 cm (24 in. x 29 15/16 in.)
Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi
(Cairo, Egypt, 1906 - 1956, New York, New York)
North America, American
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Michener Acquisitions Fund, 1970
In Osvaldo Louis Guglielmi’s "Funeral at Woodford," a quintessentially New England white clapboard church dwarfs a small group of mourners. The stiff postures of the figures, and the stoicism with which they watch the casket being carried away, gives the painting a sense of intense loneliness and unease echoed in the roiling sky and bare trees. The casket is the only element of the composition that breaks its rectilinear flatness; it projects outward towards the viewer, heightening the painting’s eeriness.
Guglielmi belonged to a group of American artists who utilized elements of European Surrealism’s visual language— without its emphasis on unconscious drives—to present social commentary. He depicted everyday scenes but used unexpected or irrational juxtapositions and disorienting variations in scale to suggest the unsettling experience of modern life and address social conditions or political issues.