Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Face on the Barroom Floor (Painting)



The Face on the Barroom Floor (painting) is a painting on the floor of the Teller House Bar in Central City, Colorado. It was painted in 1936 by Herndon Davis, who had been commissioned to do a series of paintings for the Central City Opera House. He was also asked to do some work at the Teller House. However, Davis was forced to quit after a dispute with the project director.

Davis painted the face on the floor before leaving. The face is is believed to be that of his wife. The title and possibly the painting was inspired by the famous poem Face on the Barroom Floor (poem) by Hugh Antoine d'Arcy. The poem is about an artist who became a vagabond drunk after losing Madeline, the woman he loved, to another man. The artist tells his story to a bartender and the barroom crowd, and he offers to sketch Madeline's face on the barroom floor. He ends up falling dead in the middle of his work.

The poem was recorded by country music stars Tex Ritter for his 1959 Blood on the Saddle album and Hank Snow on his Tales of the Yukon album (1968).  The video below used the recording by Hank Snow.



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22 comments:

  1. I waited until 4 minutes to see if Hank Snow was going to break out into something a bit more lively, but then gave up disappointed!! The face on the floor is compelling, if only because of its story and location.

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  2. Such a fascinating story. But if I had that artistic talent, I wouldn't want people ruining my painting by scuffing it up with their dirty shoes.

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  3. That's a very interesting take on this week's theme. I thought Hank Snow would never get to the point! That was a super long poem, with a super sad ending.
    Nancy

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  4. Every picture tells a story, they say. Great interpretation of the theme. Long poem but well worth reading and I enjoyed Hank Snow.

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  5. I ended up reading the poem on Wikipedia.

    It makes me think of the great chalk paintings that get walked on, rather than appreciated.

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  6. There's nothing like putting your wife's face on the floor of a bar for a bunch of drunks so step on and worse. LOL!

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  7. An intriguing and, as Nigel says, compelling story, but I find the painting very chocolate boxy.

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  8. Unusual story and certainly a bar floor is an unusual place to paint a face. Some are real madcaps; but without them it would be so boring!

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  9. A very interesting story and I really loved the ballad, but I do have to agree that the painting doesn't do much for me - very pretty pretty. Thanks for the story.

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  10. What a magnificent take on the theme. I do rather like the idea of a face on the barroom floor. Splendid music too.

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  11. It's doing pretty well for having been painted in 1937 (or whenever). Interesting slant on the theme -- I like it!

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  12. Will definitely add to my list of places to visit!!

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  13. This is new to me, if we are ever in that area on our travels will have to stop by....poor lady being walked all over.

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  14. Nice touch, I wanted to do something a bit different as well, but blogger kind of messed up most of my attempts! Yours is excellent!

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  15. The face is quite lovely, although I can't imagine it would be a point of pride for a woman.

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  16. A super choice! I really like the poem and Hank Snow's rendition. The ancient tradition of a balladeer was to tell a story with music, and in the 1880s it was still the main part of our American/English song tradition. Eventually it morphed into the classic Country & Western song, but lately that style has become just commercialized pop.

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  17. A long time favorite of mine -- drawing and poem and that earthy gritty voice of Hank Snow was an added benefit. Thanks

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  18. A very clever take on the theme. Most enjoyable.

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  19. Odd story but fascinating portrait.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  20. What a yarn! I remember becoming acquainted with it from a '50's MAD comic story. Fine post.

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