“Louis Bunce” Begins…

From January through March of 2017 the Hallie Ford Museum of Art will present a show surveying the work and career of Portland painter Louis Bunce (1907-1983).  The show will be curated by art historian Roger Hull, and there will be a book.  You don’t have to mark your calendars yet…I’ll remind you….but this week step one was taken.

Louis Bunce’s son Jon lives in Portland in the building that was Louis’ studio, and for many years has been Jon’s studio since Louis Bunce’s death.  Our friend Irene Longaker was a grade school classmate of Jon’s so the three of us jumped in the car the other morning and Irene regaled us with the history of Hillside/Catlin school (in this photo Hillside is on the left, and Miss Catlin’s school for young ladies is on the right) where she and Jon met some years ago…


Hillside encouraged experimentation and here’s Jon…

Jon 1

…they put on Gilbert and Sullivan musicals and here’s Jon as the Admiral in HMS Pinafore, and Irene (center) as Yum Yum in The Mikado…

Jon:PinaforeYum Yum

and in this class photo Irene is front left and Jon front right…


their gymnasium was designed by Pietro Belluschi…Nell Givler was their music teacher…they had fun and thought school was a refuge…Belluschi gym

and they’re still friends after these many years.  Jon welcomed us in to the building which was originally a grocery store years ago…

studio exterior

studio interior

Jon is a classical guitarist and has used the studio for music all these years, with the library including his own books as well as his father’s…

Jon's playing set-up

Jon's guitar

Louis' books

small painting

and after a brief tour, Roger and Jon began the first of what will be many conversations…

R & Jon

As we left for lunch Jon showed us a lovely little screen that his father painted the center panel of back in the 1940’s, but never finished…


and in 2010 Jon’s friend painter Lucinda Parker did a terrific job of painting the side panels…she a former student of Louis Bunce’s at the “museum School” as PNCA was formerly called…WITH documentation…making us archivists glad…

screen documentation

and then off to lunch…!



  1. Oh, I cannot wait for this show! I love his work. And a book too! Another wonderful edition to my Roger Hull collection.

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