The Portrait Mystery

Now that the house no longer demands ALL of our time, both Ellen and I are devoting our time to more mundane and everyday tasks. The other day, while rummaging through some long forgotten boxes I ran into a folder that intrigued me somewhat. The folder contained a folded piece of sketchbook paper on which was a charcoal portrait of myself…

At least I THINK it is supposed to be me. It looks like me, the expression on the face is similar to the facial expression on a 1962 picture of me in one of my scrapbooks, so I’m pretty sure is me! The mystery is that I do not for the life of me remember when, why and where the portrait was created. I also do not recognize the signature: “Holeman” or maybe “J Coleman”.

To make a possible identification easier I’ve narrowed down a possible timeline that offers nothing but questions, but might spark a memory…

In December 1960 and all of 1961 I lived in Ft. Pierce, Florida. I was eighteen years old and by myself.  One Beanie Backus, a well-known painter in St. Lucie County, whose house was a haven for all, lived just down the street from me. I enjoyed visiting Mr. Backus and spent quite some time with him and his friends in the studio.

In 1962 I was back in Holland, in the Dutch Army and lived at Loevesteyn Castle. There were artist types there too… and there is a picture of me crouching down next to the castle with a facial expression that resembles the one in the portrait. Yes, I was “angry” at the time… would have much rather stayed in America!

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1962

From 1963 to 1965 I lived in Fort Pierce again while attending Indian River Junior College. I renewed my friendship with Beanie Backus and again spent quite some time in his and his friends’company. Both he and his artistic friends always threatened to paint my portrait, but never did. Is this perchance a charcoal study by one of BB’s buddies? Judging from the folds in the paper the portrait appears to have been mailed to me in a business size envelope…

In 1965 I lived in Bloomington, Indiana, attending the Indiana University School of Fine Arts. Did a fellow Fine Art student make the portrait? I do recall a very nice fellow, stocky build, nice temperament but for the life of me I do not remember his name. I grew a beard in 1966 and have had one ever since so the portrait has to pre-date 1966…

Below a picture of the portrait and the signature. Anyone who might know anything about this portrait please contact me!

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