"Howard Begins to Worry that Something Untoward May Have
Happened to Him During the Fraternity Rush Party the Previous Night"
The Redbone Museum of Depressionist Art is particularly pleased to have acquired this Gerôme for its permanent collection, as it represents the artist's earliest known oil painting, done while he was a student at the École des HoBeaux-Arts, located in the woods behind the Quai Malaquais train station in downtown Paris. Unlike many artists of the Depressionist School, Gerôme had a reputation as a party animal, and in 1841 was appointed Pledge Master for Sigma Theta Delta fraternity, which was notorious for its scandalous parties that were held Saturday nights in the railway station's waiting room after the Alençon-Angers-St. Nazaire steam train had departed at 23:40.
The identity of the pledge in this picture has never been established, although most scholars suspect it was Howard Krebs Lunchduck, a British exchange student who hanged himself not long after the event recorded in the painting, possibly because he was rejected for membership in the STD fraternity.
MoDA gratefully acknowledges an anonymous gift from Hoffman-La Roche Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of Rohypnol®, which contributed to the funding of this artwork.