top of page

"Self-portrait of the Artist with His Ex-wives"

Adolph Boogaloo

Boogaloo's talent for near-photographic representation in his paintings was counterbalanced by his affinity for bad marriages. Basically a shy fellow, he invariably fell for the nude models who posed for him, and their backgrounds left much to be desired. His first wife, Desirée, on the left in this picture, was the subject of his first nude study, "Young Girl Without Anything On," who persuaded him to marry her before she would allow him to finish the lower portion of his portrait of her. As she had spent her brief career as a pickpocket and saloon dancer, his family promptly disinherited him until he came to his senses and divorced her, at which point she sued him for maintenance and upkeep.


His second wife, Dolly, was the model for his second painting, "Woman Without a Stitch On," and alas, the same thing occurred. Once again his family, outraged that their scion had espoused himself to a common burlesque-hall performer, disowned him until he was forced by penury to divorce her, although the alimony she demanded was outrageous.

While searching for a model for a third painting, which he intended to call "Young Lady in Her Birthday Suit," he was introduced to Tyree, shown on the right, a topless waitress at a local bistro. Instantly smitten, he both painted and wed her until the inevitable happened yet again. By now his finances were in a perilous state, so much so that he was no longer able to buy paints, and if he purchased so much as a length of canvas, as shown here, he was set upon by his former wives, all demanding additional money and threatening legal action.

Eventually committed to Debtor's Prison, he spent the remaining year of his life on a large mural in the prison refectory called, "Study of Poor Women Debtors, All Bare-assed," which was destroyed shortly after his death by order of the Office for Moral Improvement in Prisons.


BACK          NEXT


bottom of page