Christopher Brown -
Velazquez Hands, 1995
Aquatint with soft-ground and hard-ground etching and burnishing, 38 x 37.75 inches
Crown Point Press
Gift of William J. Lutz and Karen Wicklund Lutz (MBA '78)
Christopher Brown, a painter active in the Bay area for over two decades, has also produced a striking body of prints at Crown Point Press, the renowned publishing workshop.
In Velazquez Hands, Brown turns to the history of painting and seemingly quotes the Spanish baroque master Diego Velazquez. In Velazquez’s full-length royal portraits, women’s arms hang loose, resting on side-bustles under thick-skirted dresses. Women often hold either a fan or elaborately embroidered handkerchief. Only men clutch a letter or note. What makes Brown’s study so mysterious is that the repeated cropped figure is out of his own imagination, not from a specific painting by Velazquez. It is also a woman not a man who grasps a folded sheet of paper. In his repetition of the figure, the hands adopt various attitudes. Four are surrounded by blood-red haloes. The poetic result is an undisclosed, possibly ominous, drama. The content of any message conveyed, either by a note or hand gesture, remains forever unknown.