Artist: Emil Bunjes, Sr.
30″ x 36″ Watercolor (Probably painted in the 1960s)
My Father was an artist and my favorite artist. He was my first art instructor and a very demanding one. Many times in my classes with him I would try to remember why in the world I wanted to be an artist. But my desire to create art grew. At age 17 he got me my first job in the “art world”. Well not actually, the art world, but in an advertising department in a large national department store. He was a well-known and respected illustrator in the Houston area and I guess his word was all they needed to hire me. It all worked out because I went on to work in several more “art world” jobs, even art jobs considered glamorous at the time . I studied art in college and graduated from art school, settling finally into freelancing from my own home studio and eventually painting fine art only. Never a day goes by without my realization of how much I learned from my Daddy.
But this blog is not about me; it’s about one of his paintings, “Bear Confrontation”. Several weeks ago I received a phone call from an art dealer asking if I was Emil Bunjes’ daughter. I responded that I am. He went on to say that he had acquired one of his paintings from an estate sale and was planning to submit it to an auction gallery and asked if I would be interested in purchasing it. My Father was a prolific painter, was represented by galleries, selling many, many paintings during his career. My husband and I own several of his paintings as do our children and a few nieces and nephews.
I asked him to email a photo which he did. The painting was familiar to us and to our children as well. We all loved it. The dealer said it was in its original frame. Right away our daughter said she would like to buy it from us, remembering the painting and liking the subject in particular. I agreed to buy it from the dealer and he shipped it to us.
When we opened it we were pleased with the quality of the painting but the frame was in bad condition and in shipping the painting itself had slipped down behind the mat to the bottom of the frame. Our first thought was to simply remove it from the frame and discard the frame and old mat. I was excited to read what Daddy had possibly written on the back, especially a date. He had written the title, “Bear Confrontation” but there was no date, to my disappointment. There was a faint stamp from the original framer who has apparently gone out of business.
I spoke with the dealer about our plans to save only the painting. He “implored” us (his word) to keep the frame. I decided to take his advice and took it to a framer whom I consider to be the best. She cleaned and repaired the frame, selected a new mat, and did her usual beautiful job completing the framing. I took the photo above at the frame shop with my iPhone…… (Which explains why it is so bad! My apologies!)
We are happy to have another of Daddy’s paintings back in the family. Wouldn’t it be fun to know where it had lived before?
I think I’ll write more blogs about my Daddy and his amazing talent. His self-discipline, his work ethic, his determined schedule of practice and production will provide material and inspiration for a long time to come.