Behind the Curtain, 1963
Tempera on board
11½ x 4½ inches
Signed upper left
French attended Amherst College in the 1920s and studied at the Art Students League (where he met and influenced Paul Cadmus). As a painter, draftsman, sculptor, muralist, and printmaker working in the style of Magic Realism, he composed mysterious, surrealist depictions of the male figure. Isolation, alienation, and anxiety — as well as the human unconscious and sexuality — were his major themes. French’s intentions were almost as mysterious as his paintings, however, and he hinted that the key to his work could be found in the writings of C. G. Jung.
Behind the Curtain is a strong example of French’s work, showing his mastery of the egg tempera medium, his use of graphite to effectively render the light source, and his ability to depict a sense of mystery.