The Junction of Loneliness

Bright Light at Russell’s Corners (1946) by George Ault (1891-1948): elements of disquiet within meticulous order. The Poetry of Darkness.

The personal life of American painter George Ault was overwhelmed with tragedy: the suicide of his brother Harold in 1915, the death of his mother in a mental hospital in 1920, the death of his father in 1929, the loss of family fortune in the stock market crash, also 1929, and the suicides of his two remaining brothers soon after.

John Ruggles, Ault’s friend, once recalled that Ault “painted to make order out of chaos.”

Woodstock, New York. 1949. The hard-drinking Ault was dark, melancholy and brooding. He saw himself as fiercely independent, setting himself apart from other artists.

His paintings evoke mystery, darkness, smallness, quiet. And, loneliness.

Of his later paintings, such as January, Full Moon; Black Night; August Night; and Bright Light at Russell’s Corners (pictured), The New York Times once wrote:
“The setting is the same in each case—a solitary streetlight, the same bend in the road, the same collection of barns and sheds—but seen from different vantage points. In them, Ault has summoned up the poetry of darkness in an unforgettable way—the implacable solitude and strangeness that night bestows upon once-familiar forms and places.”
From this article.

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