Painting on Glass

The picture came from my grandfather. Why he chose me to have it I’m not sure. It had belonged to my maternal great-grandmother. Grandpa told me it had came over from central Europe (Bohemia, in what is now the Czech Republic) in 1898 with my maternal great-grandparents. 

My ancestors had come here to escape great-grandfather serving in the Kaiser’s army. They brought a few things and their five children. My grandmother was the first child born in the United States, in 1901.  Great-grandmother died in 1939 and my grandmother ended up with the picture. 

I remember always admiring the picture as a child every time we went to visit my grandparents.  By the time my family came to California grandmother was already confined to bed (she was in mid stage diabetes) and had most of her personal possessions and treasures in her bedroom with her. The picture was on the wall facing her bed. 

All of this is some history behind the picture itself. 

It is about 11 inches by 15 inches and the glass is convex instead of flat. The composition appears to have been painted onto the glass. I later found out the picture was a print and had adhered to the glass. 

The original painting is actually The Harpsichord Lesson by Jules-Alexis Meunier. It was purchased by the government of France in 1911, the year Meunier completed it.  

It is still very much a part of my family, and one of the few things from my family which has survived my family divisions and seven moves since buying my first home. 

Place(s): Bohemia, Ohio, California
Year: 1898

– Christopher Metta Bexar

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more