by Gerard Curtis Delano
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First off, this is the second piece that was brought to my attention by a fan of the site who wishes to remain anonymous. My thanks to you.
First seen during the tour of Suite 3 (22:29-22:41). Appears again during the whip to Danny seeing Zombie Jack in bed on MONDAY (53:16), then twice during the room 237 post mortem between Jack and Wendy (77:45-77:51 + 80:21-80:22), and twice again during Jack’s axe attack on Suite 3 (122:29 + 122:35). That’s 23 seconds of combined screen time.
Delano holds the distinction of being the painter who is (believed to be) the first to have used the saguaro cactus in his works as a symbol of the American West. This is interesting because the cactus as he painted it, as a Coloradan painter, was appearing outside of its natural habitat. This sort of, for lack of a better word, scientific error reminds me of the work of Paul Kane, whose Makah Returning In Their War Canoes appears in the lobby back hall. Kane is criticized for being sloppy in his presentation of indigenous cultures, mashing up styles between tribes, thereby obscuring historical detail. Similarly, in trying to peg down this image of poplars, aspens, junipers, and sagebrushes (if that’s what they are), I scoured the New Mexican art scene to no avail. Artists known for their lifelong devotion to Coloradan scenes rarely use this much sagebrush in the foreground (a technique common among New Mexican artists), and Delano did precious few paintings, it seems, of pure landscape. Most of his works involve figures moving through the image. So perhaps this is another instance of him manipulating his flora–I’m no expert. But perhaps this is a part of a trend Kubrick’s observing, of artists who fudge the details.
But it should be noted that Delano was an ardent fan of Navajo culture and its people. So its presence in Suite 3 might not be altogether critical.
Since this piece likely includes poplars, aspens, junipers and sagebrush:
“Poplar” has a light connection to the next piece, by Franklyn Popham Cattermole.
“Aspen” is where the missing woman on the news broadcast Wendy’s hearing about is from, and Wendy actually overlays with this painting (it’s behind the wall behind Danny, but still) when she’s hearing “Aspen”.
And if it is depicting somewhere closer to Taos, New Mexico, that name, Taos, means “land of red willows”. Willow comes from the latin helix meaning “twisted”. Land of twisted reds. Redrums?
Also, I’ve wondered a few times if the magnitude of twins and opposites in the film implies that Kubrick had taoism on the brain, and Taos looks and sounds an awful lot like taoism. At the ghost ball, Kubrick even had at least one of his daughters dress all in black (with white bracelets), and I wonder if the one in all white (with black shoes that look identical to the Grady Twins’ shoes) was his other daughter.
The piece hanging directly across from this, The Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, 1774, has a very yin-yang composition to it. So yeah. Whole lot of duality potentially going on here.
As for the title, Touch of Autumn: my best estimate for when the story starts is September 23rd, and the story definitely ends on December 14th (not counting the last shot of the Jack photo, which could be from any of the closed months). So, I like that we’ve got this “autumn” painting so frequently throughout, to underscore the winterlessness of the proceedings. As fearful as the winter season would be to any prospective caretaker, Jack’s brain doesn’t even make it that far.
The piece is seen six times in the film, and three of these are in conjunction with the Franklyn Popham Cattermole tree section. These are the two times Jack comes and goes during the discussion about 237, and the one time he’s crossing with the axe, saying, “Come out, come out, wherever you are…” So that means that there’s a “Franklin” and a “Delano”, but is there a…”Roosevelt“? Honestly, I don’t expect to find a Roosevelt, but it’s probably worth noting that Ullman says “We had four presidents who stayed here…” exactly 73 seconds before this painting appears (22:16-22:29) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt ushered in the 73rd United States congress, introducing the New Deal near the dawn of the Great Depression, rescuing the American populace from even harsher conditions than market capitalism was prepared to unleash. But if this is an intentional reference to the New Deal, and if we’re to think that Roosevelt stayed at the Overlook…was saving America from itself…a bad thing?
There’s also a cartoon in the snowcat garage where a woman is hectoring her souse of a husband for slouching in from a late night bender, and the man’s name is Gerhard. Gerhard and Gerard are essentially the same name, etymologically. The wife asks, translated from German, “Why aren’t you shining, Gerhard?” meaning, why haven’t you turned the lights on, Gerhard? To which he replies that it’s because he’s trying to save electricity. He’s creeping through the dark, as to go undetected. Ironically(?), Danny does some of his hardest shining in the dark, and only Jack and Wendy are seen in conjunction with Touch of Autumn with the lights fully on, if that’s part of Kubrick’s joke; that the Gerhard-Gerard connection means they aren’t true shiners.
The first appearance is backwards at 18:56 and 19:02 when Jack and Danny are discussing cannibalism on the other side. Then, 3:27 later it appears again during the Suite 3 tour (22:29-22:41), while Tony/Danny is REDRUMing on the other side. Then, 30:35 later it appears in a flash while Grady on the other side has just finished saying he’s “sorry to differ” with Jack. Then, 7:53 later (53:16-61:09), Jack is staring bloody murder at Danny’s door as he exits his fight with Wendy while opposite side Wendy is telling a post-237 Danny that Jack’s okay and just “has a headache”. The final appearance comes 2:31 later (63:40) as the opposite side Jack is storming over to the empty Gold Room bar, hungry for a drink, and willing to give his “goddamn soul for just a glass of beer”. So it seems like we’ve got a healthy dose of 237s and a mashup of cannibalism/alcoholism imagery here.
Next art reference: Wood Section Landscape of Mt. Hood
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