The University of Melbourne
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Wild October Jones

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posted on 2024-02-10, 21:50 authored by Melody EotvosMelody Eotvos

Several summers ago (which was actually winter in Australia) I spent some time in Melbourne. I was at one of my first record fairs and happened to be curiously browsing through several albums of playing cards as a distraction while a friend finished shopping. They were rather special cards because of the particular edition and 'frontispiece' each had. So, I was flipping through pages and pages of these cards and then one suddenly jumped out at me. It was a reproduction of a beautiful painting that depicted a train passing a horse-carriage at full speed, and the carriage halting to avoid a collision, and a young woman falling off the back of the carriage. The whole image has a very warped and animated perspective to it. I bought that single card there and then for $3. Now, several years later I found it while cleaning out a box of souvenirs I'd gathered over the past 5 years or so, and decided to research it a little. After some intensive googling I discovered the painting belonged to an Indiana artist Thomas Hart Benton, and that we have several of his works throughout the IU Bloomington campus. For me this was too serendipitous to ignore and I busily set about writing a piece based on this very painting, Wreck of Old '97.


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