"Dorothy: The Later Years"

Aaron Bogdown

Bogdown earned a place in Depressionism's hall of fame by taking upon himself a personal crusade to tell the "real downer stories" behind many popular fairy tales, songs and stories. In his autobiography, Happy Never After, he explains his disillusion as a child when he discovered he didn't have to try as hard as the story says he did. "I made up my mind then," he recounts, "to show the cloud behind every silver lining."


He first attracted attention with his portrait, "Less Witch than Victim," which presented the Queen in the Snow White tale as the product of a dysfunctional family and an abusive husband. 


The present canvas was from his later years, after he was driven out of Germany and fled to the United States because of his painting, "Hansel and Gretel: Natural Born Killers." 


The artist examined the Oz story, or what he called "Dorothy's Fugue State," from the viewpoint of repressed adolescent sexual fantasies. He then built upon that theme to depict a sadder but no wiser Dorothy, now known as "the Moll of the Munchkins," here shown insensible after a night of libertine partying well-lubricated with Winkie wine and Quaadlingludes. She is being ogled by a couple of neer-do-wells from the Sandy Waste who are torn between ravishment and the theft of the famous Ruby Slippers, which Dorothy had purloined from the Oz Museum of Natural History to make it easier to get from tryst to tryst.


Shortly after this painting was completed Bogdown disappeared, never to be seen again. Police were unable to rule out foul play, pointing out the discovery in the painter's loft of several unaccountable wisps of straw, a battered tin funnel and several strands of what later proved to be hair from a lion's mane.

 

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