Conversation with an Early Girard Collector: Mr. Doubleday

Master of Mud (aka artist) and former Center for Creative Studies (CCS), Detroit,  professor of art, Bill (William J.) Girard Jr., passed away in 2011. The website created to honor him is found at


Way back.... on January 31st, 2017,  a pair of "third generation" members of the Friends of Bill Girard (FOBG) community  Ms. Janson (J) and Mr. Weikal (K), visited one of the earliest members of that community, Mr. Doubleday (M). The visit took place in metro Detroit. 

What follows is a modestly redacted version of the transcribed conversation. Transcribed, because it was recorded by Ms. Janson and Mr. Weikal. With their permission, I am providing this lightly redacted transcript. 

The redactions are intended to protect the privacy of the participants and the sanctity of their respective collections.

Perhaps this document will prove of interest to future members of the FOBG and to others with a either an interest in or a passion for understanding the artist, Bill Girard ( and one of those whose early friendship and patronship served as the medium for his life's work. 

Mr. Doubleday was, for many years, the vice principal of a noted Detroit-based high school. Ms. Janson is active in the financial services sector. Mr. Weikal owns a successful design business. All are based in metro Detroit.

I might add that Mr. Doubleday had never previously met Mr. Weikal or Ms. Janson. The meeting took place at the home of Mr. Doubleday.

I have added images and links to the transcript, and occassional comments, to establish the context of the conversation.  


Introductions and a bit of conversation before the beginning of our recording.  Mostly, a lot of ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over the wonderful Girard paintings he owns.

M:  It was just something to show his students.

J:  Yeah, because it looks almost like an instructional piece.

M:  Yes, that’s what it is

J:  Okay.

M: Now this I bought in Florida at a gallery that Bill was using in uh, Tampa, no in St. Petersburg.

(Editor: the reference is to Fiorini Gallery & Frame, in St. Petersburg, Florida, owned by Dan Fiorini. As of  12/2019, Mr. Fiorini is listed on the WWW as the owner of Tyrone Frame and Mirror, in St. Petersburg, FL. Mr. Fiorini was previously worked with with Michael Curtis, artist, lecturer, author and president of The Studio, located in Alexandria, Virgina.)

J: St. Pete, Yeah, because the guy who owned it, I think, has become a state representative down there.

M: Oh really?

J: I believe so, I can’t remember his name but I think his name starts with an F.  Maybe I can find it.

M: No I do not but yes I think you’re right with the F.

M: Now the one up there that looks so dark, uh, and Bill made the frame on that one too.  And, uh, I had been discussing with him Mary Renault’s “Persian Boy”.  And, he said, “Oh, I can make a painting of the ‘Persian Boy’.  So that is the Persian Boy from Mary Renault’s novel. And I’ll never forget, as he was painting it he said, “M, do you want him to have hair on his chest?”  And I said, “Well, I know he would probably have been shaven because he was a dancer but he would have normally had hair on his chest from that part of the country, I mean that part of the world. So put hair on his chest.” And, that is, uh, Ian Hornak and...  But that is Chris.

(Editor: I'm guessing that M misspoke, using the name of Bill's son, when he meant to say, Bill.)

The Persian Boy. Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI. 1940-2011.

K: Here. Aw geez!

M: Yes.  He brought that to me. I had him over for dinner quite frequently. We had a little group and everyone would come over, you know, on Thanksgiving and other kinds of things.  And he told me he gave that to me as a gift for one of those dinners too.  It was still wet when I got it.

And, of course, the little one at the bottom is very nice. He went through a period where he was very much into Balinesian music and those kinds of things.

J: Balinesian music?

K: Uh-huh, from Bali.

J:  Oh!  Okay.

M: Yes and you can see this was one of those.

K: (laughs) Oh man.  I’ve seen some fuzzy images of some of these.

J: Yeah, and they’re very fuzzy. 

J:  Dan Fiorini.

M: Dan Fiorini, that’s right.  I bought this from Dan.  I bought the “Scheherazade” 

K:  This one?

M: Yes, from Dan.  I reframed them because they were very, very elementally done.

K: Yeah, I saw an image of this with some crazy red something around it.

M:  It was a red frame and it was the most God-awful ugly thing I’d ever…

K:  Did Girard, did he paint that himself?

M: Yes.

Scheherazade (aka David & Bathsheba) In artist-made frame. 
Oil on panel. 13" x 11" Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI. 1940-2011.
Note: Better image shown below in another frame.
K: So it was just some funny little…

M: Well, what Bill did was whatever he had in the basement. You know, he was always a starving artist.

K:  Poor guy.  I mean, so talented, I mean oh my gosh.

M:  But, uh, and then the one over the lamp he did a very, very large canvas for Urban Japena and it was a blue and white and it was filled with these angels and, uh, this was a print that he had made from that and that one…I have two of my favorite artists; Bill Girard and Ian Hornak.

These are all Ian Hornaks. They are very similar.

K: They’re kind of similar, you’re right.

J:  Is that a Girard?

M: That’s Bill’s.  That’s the “Lady with the Fan”.

J:  Lovely.

K:  My gosh.

M:  I just love this one. You sit and look at this…the white…that’s a tempera…

K:  What I like to do when I get a little bit more organized is I’ll send you, because you’re a serious collector, I will get you what I have of his inventory.

M:  Oh, that would be great!

K: I think it would be, well, it’s sort of like we have this little club and you have some of the stunners.  I have a lot of the leftovers. I’ve got a few good ones too. But it would be nice to do it with our club that we share and I think you’d love to see some of these images that we’ve found and even some of the stuff that Allen had hoarded away.  You may remember them from a while ago. 

Cover of self-published auto-biography. Allen looks like a conservative, here.
 In fact, he was incredibly witty. The paintings behind him are all by Bill Girard, as far as I can tell.

M:  You know, I don’t.

K: I mean, I have sketches and pencils and inks and Allen had a whole bunch of
Almost like memorabilia.

(Editor:; Reference is to the redoubtable Allen Abramson, Girard's first patron, about whom much will be written in the near future. One day, his collection of Girard work will be the stuff of legend.)

M: Well, he supported Bill for quite a long time.

K: Yeah, he did. 

M:  Yeah, the only problem is, that didn’t really work in Bill’s favor but Bill was not a hustler when it came to, uh…

K:  No, Allen was a hustler.

M:  Allen was a hustler.

K:  Allen was definitely the hustler.  He would constantly say, “K, nice to see ya… I’ve got a little thing. You wanna buy some…”  “Allen, c’mon, I thought we were gonna go have dinner.” “We’ll go have dinner in a minute but do you wanna buy a….”

J:  Well, he had to!

K:  That was how he made his living.

M:  Well, the first time I met Allen, I was over there with Bill and with Urban Japena.

(Editor: Reference is to Urban JupenaHead of Fibers, Department of Art and Art History, Wayne State University, Detroit. ) 

K:  Were you at Allen’s?

M: Yes.  At the place on Hamilton.

J:  Hamilton?

K:  So, you were by the golf course.

J:  On Six Mile.

K:  Yeah on Six Mile. It was Six Mile and then Garden Court.

M:  The Six Mile place was really quite spectacular.

J:  That was his favorite; that was Allen’s favorite.

K:  I have pictures from there.  If you invite us again I’ll have to…

M:  Oh, I would love to.

K:  I’m gonna bring all my stuff and we’ll just have a Saturday or something because it’s very exciting…

M:  But what, uh, I’ll never forget it because what Allen said, and it was the first time we’d ever met, while we were going out he said, “M, go walk my dog.”

J:  (laughs) Gengis Cohen!

K:  Sounds like Allen, doesn’t it?

M:  (laughing) and I said, “Walk your dog?”  This was at night on Six Mile Road…

J:  Where Allen got shot. (laughs)

K:  Oh yeah, he was, he was, with Allen it was as much of a dare as it was a joke and just to see what you were made of.

M:  Yes. 

K:  He was so outrageous.

M:  So I said, “I don’t walk dogs.”

K:  The perfect answer. (laughs)

M:  And he didn’t say another thing.

K:  laughs

J:  That’s hilarious!  What a great story.

M:  (getting up to retrieve a file) Let me show you the ones I sold.

J:  (sadly) ohhhh…

M:  I don’t know how much of this information you have but I went through, you know, everyone’s got a file that says ‘Art’.

K:  Sure, sure.

M: And this was there. First I’ll show you how this…okay, this is this one.

K:  Oh…look at her…oh my word…

J & K:  ohhh….

M:  Now this was the one that really had detail.

J:  And you had to sell it?

M:  Yes.  It’s called “Narcissus”

Narcissus. Oil painting. Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI. 1940-2011

(Editor: Girard painted many different versions of the Narcissus myth. I have one, myself.)

J:  ohhhh…

K:  A gentleman named Michael Curtis, who you know, do you know him?

(Editor: Reference is to Michael Curtis, listed as Director of Design & Planning at AEGEA, in Washington, DC., and V.P. of the National Liberty Memorial, Liberty Fund. From

M:  Oh!  Yes!  Michael bought that?

K:  No, Michael has some images

J:  That are really bad images…

K: ….Early photos because J, J is a friend of Glenn Michaels…do you know him?
M:  No, I don’t him.

K:  He was a student.  I’m 57 so he’s probably my age and he’s a very good friend of Bill’s. He had a lot of information. And he has a web site up and I can send you the link to the web site.  And he may have met you at one time. He said he may have met you once.

M:  Very possible.  This is the other big one that I sold. This is a “Scheherazade” also.

And, I do know who bought that because I was very much pleased.  This is Marvin Nash who bought this.  Marvin Nash is an antique dealer.

K:  Does he have other Girards too or did he just like this one?

M:  He bought this at auction. (Schmidt’s)  I can tell you that at auction this sold for $2100. 
J:  That’s good.

M:  That’s not too bad.

K:  That’s really, really good.

J:  Yeah, there were …

M:  This is the way it looked in my house.

K:  So, where did you live originally? Where was this house?

M:  That is where I moved from to get here.  That is at Hyde Park.  It’s a cooperative right downtown, right near Greektown in that area.

K:  Oh, okay.  So, nice, beautiful ceilings, nice…

M: No, I had all of the woodwork made.

K:  Very well done.  Very nice.

M:  And this is the other one that I just loved.  This was the first thing I ever bought of Bill’s. It’s called, “In the Garden of Ra”

K:  I’ve seen a picture of this.

M:  And that is so beautiful.

K:  And, you sold this one?

M:  Mmm-hmm.

K:  Do you know who bought that one?

M:  No.

K:  This was at auction?

J:  Did they give you a good price for that one?

M: I can’t remember.

J & K: Ah!

M:  No, I sold so much

K:  I’m dyin’.  I’m just dyin’ here!

M:  And this is the other big one that I sold.  This is 5’ x 5’.

K:  Yeah. “Twilight of the Minotaur”. That’s what they called it.

Twilight of the Mintaur.  Oil painting. 1973. 5' x 5.5'. 
Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI. 1940-2011.

(Editor: Having never seen the original, I cannot vouch for the colors of this image. Another, earlier image in my possession, makes the painting appear much darker.)

M:  I had always called it “In the Court of the Minotaur”

K:  I just saw it as “The Twilight of the Minotaur”.  So, do you know where this one is?

M:  No.

K:  Was it sold locally?

M:  Yes, it was sold at Schmidt’s.

K:  Okay.

M:  It went for …

(Editor: I believe this painting sold for $2000, if my notes from a later conversation with M are accurate.)

K:  This is quite a painting.

M:  This was the second one I’d ever bought and I bought this from Habitat Galleries when it was on Telegraph…
K: Yeah it was on Telegraph & what, Long Lake Road?
M:  No, closer.  Right near Telegraph and Ford Road.  It was a very small shop at that time and I will never forget, I saw it and said, “I’ve got to have it.”
K:  Oh my gosh, yes. It’s just as crazy as it gets!
M: But I didn’t have the money so I asked him if he would contact the painter and see if I could pay on the never- never; and I did.  And, I paid $1200 for that when I bought it so I didn’t sell it for very much.
K: (underneath what M is saying) That’s fantastic, that’s fantastic!
M: So I thought of it this way, I lived with it for over 30 years.
K:  Oh yeah.  That’s, that’s a tremendous paint.
J:  That’s gorgeous!
M:  Yeah, I loved it.
K:  Oh my gosh.  Oh!
M:  But, that is how the two of them looked.
K:  Yes. Yes. I have very fuzzy images of these.
M:  Mmm-hmm.
K:  So, what was this one called?
M:  “In the Garden of Ra”
K:  “In the Garden of Ra” I guess, because Michael Curtis has a fuzzy photo of it and he has it as “In the Garden of Eden” but it’s “In the Garden of Ra”. Okay.
M:  Bill certainly liked mythological…
K:  All these classical themes…Oh Yeah! Great!  So we think these are still local then?
M:  I’m sure they are.
K:  Interesting.  And, these were all sold through Schmidt’s?
M:  Mmm-huh.
K:  About how long ago?
M: Well since I move here.
J:  He’s pressing you.
K:  I’m so nosey but…
M:  It’s about…these are the two…you looked at the one over here.
K:  Yes, yes, yes.
J:  Gorgeous.
K:  This is “Scheherazade”?
M:  Right.  That’s “Scheherazade”.

David & Bathsheba.  Oil on panel. 13" x 11"
Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI. 1940-2011.

(Editor: Painting as shown was reframed by Mr. Doubleday. The artist's original frame was dramatically different. See above: “Scheherazade.” )

K:  I have it listed as “David and Bathsheba”.
M:  By the way, that’s what it may be.
K:  Yeah. And that’s only through Michael Curtis. I mean, I’m just through Michael Curtis.  Michael Curtis wants to write a book.
M:  Michael Curtis was part of the group of artists that I think he was in this classical gallery.
K:  Yes, because he’s a gallery owner in New York State or something.
K:  I have this.  I have an image of this.  “Circus at the End of the World” it is called. Yes.

Circus at the End of the World. 1974-76. Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI. 1940-2011.
K:  Aren’t these great!
J:  (pointing to “Amron”) This is the first one that Allen ever bought…
M:  Oh, really?
J:  from Bill and the story goes that Bill showed up at Allen’s art gallery because he owned a little place called The Artery and he had his baby in one arm and this painting in the other arm.  And, Allen bought that, it was the first Girard he ever bought.  In his trust he left it to his attorney who is my co-trustee on Allen’s trust…

Amron. Oil painting. circa 1963.
Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI. 1940-2011.

(Editor: Amron is a palindrome for "Norma." Almost certainly a reference to the opera "Norma" by Vincenzo Bellini.)

M:  Oh, wonderful…
J:  So we know where it is and we know who has it and he’s actually a good friend of ours.
M:  I wonder if…was it Michael Curtis who had written this?  No, this is Glenn Michaels.  Have you ever seen this?
K:  Let me see…
J:  Yeah, Glenn is a friend of ours. He lives in Arizona.
K:  I’ll have to see…”If it’s a Girard, It’s a Steal”
M:  Right.  It was a very, very interesting article.
K:  I think he put it on the web site.  I think he was broken into and they stole a bunch of stuff but they didn’t steal any of the Girards.   Is that what it is?
M:  Yes.
K:  It was, are you nuts?  I’m offended and I’m happy! But I’m offended.  (Laughs) Yeah, this is great.  Glenn’s a great Glenn’s a wonderful writer, he’s really great. He’s a nice…
M:  I enjoyed that very much.  This is a great picture of it.
K:  Oh, yeah, yeah.  I have just a copy of that. Oh my gosh.
J:  Beautiful. That’s the best picture I’ve seen of that.  Oh there’s Allen, look!  Awww… Hi Sweetie!
M:  Yes, you’ve seen this.
K:  (chuckles) Allen, oh boy, every time I see that I get misty-eyed.
M:  Well, I’m telling you, that apartment on Hamilton was really, really something.
M:  So, that is what I have.  And, of course, Schmidt’s did this American and there’s a little thing in there about Bill.  I think I can find it on the second or third page.
K:  Here we go.  Girard, yeah.  Mmm-hmm.
M:  I went through Bill’s very difficult period with the Center for Creative Studies.  Oh, they were nasty to him.

(Editor: aka CCS. Now known as the College for Creative Studies. For more details, see my essay GIRARD? GIRARD WHO? on this blog.)

J:  Yeah, they were.  I’ve seen some of the correspondence…
M:  I haven’t seen the correspondence…
K:  Glenn actually has quite a bit of it on his little web site.  He has a web site as a tribute to Bill and he’s got a lot of images that he has and a lot of documents and a lot of letters from the faculty and then a lot of letters from students supporting Bill.  And of course Glenn was a mad man, he was writing the whole time.  So I’ll send you the link to it if you’re computer savvy at all…
M:  Yes.
J:  Tell me, what did you do for a living before you retired?
M:  I was an English and Drama teacher originally. Then I got my masters and became a guidance counselor and then after I got my 30 hours past my master I became a school administrator. And, I ended up as assistant Principal at Cass Tech.
J:  Oh, my goodness…that’s a great school!
K:  Oh my gosh!
M:  Mmmm-hmmm it was a great school.
K:  You are like a historian. (Gasp) Ah!
M:  Yeah, we have a lot of good moments in the past.
J:  They talk about Cass Tech all the time on WRCJ, the classical music station in Detroit?
M:  it’s on right now!
J:  I love that.  Don’t you just love Dave Wagner?  He’s one of the funniest people on radio and so many people miss out on him.  He’s a treasure!
M:  I like Chris Felcyn too. 
J:  Yeah, Chris Felcyn’s great.  I love his recipes. And, he’s funny.
M:  I’ve gotta tell you the story of that painting because I think you’ll find it very, very interesting.
J:  It’s called “Titania”?
M:  Yes, it’s Titania from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. And, if you’re familiar with the Shakespearean play, she was the Queen of the Fairies. And, of course, see the figure in the back? That is Oberon, her husband and he is, of course, Queen of, I mean, King of the Night.  And, his fairies, as you can see up at the top, are all done in black.  And then over here we have Puck.  And then all of her fairies are down here.
K:  I’ve only seen a print of this.  This painting is unbelievable.

Titania. 1969-80 Oil on panel.
Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI. 1940-2011  

J:  So much better than the print.  I can’t even…..
K:  The little shells
M:  I’ve gotta tell you the interesting part about this, this is the interesting part.  When I met Bill, he had started this painting and at that particular time (let me show you the background) Titania was, of course Bonnie and he was going through a divorce and he had started it and I just loved it.  You see the background in the Garden of Ra, that black? Real dark and sort of forbidding?  Well that was the background  and Titania, the only thing that was the same in the painting was her face.  Her hair was down wild; it was still red.  In her hair she had daisies, pink daisies. The earrings were just plain hoops.  The costume was blue and it had this wild background and he said, “M, you may live with it and when I’m ready to finish it, I’ll come and take it and finish it.”
J:  Did you get any pictures before he finished it?
M:  That’s the thing that just really upsets me, no I didn’t.
K:  (laughs)
J:  You basically had two in one!
M:  I know, I had two…well anyway…when he brought it back I was so unhappy because I had lived with this other one for several years and I just loved it.  But all of the sudden I had to…
K:  So, it’s under there somewhere.
M:  Yes.  It’s a totally new painting.
J:  So, have you grown to love her?

M: Oh, it took me all of a couple of weeks.  The detail is phenomenal.
K:  Ya know, I have, and I’ll have to bring some of these things to show you…I have some very, very small little sketches, just pencil things he would do, and they’re so detailed they’re so detailed…I can’t believe it’s even done.
M:  I know what you’re saying.
K:  But you can appreciate it because when you start looking at her earrings…
M:  Oh the earrings, everything…even  the roses…
K:  …these tiny little wings…
M:  Yes.  It’s just amazing…
K:  And this little one right here her a little crown and then these little fairies around here…God…
M:  I didn’t know if he was going to sell it to me when he brought it back to me.
K:  Gasp
J:  I can’t believe it…this is SO much better than any of the prints. I’m shocked at..
K:  Oh my gosh…
M:  I’m sure he sold the prints without the bottom because at the bottom it says, “From the collection of REDACTED.”
K:  In big letters?
M:  In big letters.
K:  Allen gave me a framed copy of this because he had a whole stack…
M:  Bill made a whole stack.  I had several I gave my mother one, I remember.
K:  But even, even, and of course an original is so much more than…
M:  Well, it needs to be lighted. It’s very dark in here. And, I was aware of that when I painted the walls this color but I love this color so…
M:  It works very well with the painting.
K:  It’s beautiful.
J:  Yeah, you have a gorgeous home.
J:  You know you can get the gallery lights now that are LEDs that are battery operated so you don’t have to plug it in…
M:  You don’t have to plug it in.  A good idea because…
J:  I’m tempted to get some of those too.
K:  So, what… when he brought it back to you, what year was that?
M:  Let me see. It was in the late 60s because I had moved into my place on Whitmore in Palmer Park.
M:  Listen, can I get you some pop or water or something?
J:  No, thank you, we’re great.  This is so generous of you; we feel like we’re imposing.
M:  You’re not imposing.
J:  Good!  We’ll be back all the time, then! 
M:  As I told you, it’s easy to get in.
J:  Now that we know the back door!
K:  Back door and call M.
K:  So, was “The Persian Boy” later or earlier?

M:  Later.  The first one…the frame is…
K:  In itself, architecturally it’s just wonderful
M:  It’s made with matchsticks, much of it.
K:  You’re right! Look at this!
M:  Which just amazed me.  Yeah.
K:  Bill was passionate, crazy, and had much too much time on his hands.
M:  Well, he the thing that was so interesting if you saw his house…Have you ever seen his house?
K & J: I’ve only seen pictures.

Dining Room Mural (Detail).  Girard's Gardina, Royal Oak home.
Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI  1940-2011
M:  It was very, very interesting.
K:  With the murals and…

Title unknown. Plaster in Girard's kitchen. Dionysus?
The artist's Gardina, Royal Oak home. 
 Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI  1940-2011
M:  But it didn’t look like Bill.
J:  Really?
M:  Really.  And I think it was because I always think of his things as being so composed and the walls and the murals were much more freestyle.
K:  He was probably just trying things out.
M:  That’s exactly what he was doing.
K:  And, maybe he’d paint over them again…
M:  Yes,
K:  and try something more.
M:  And the house was; what shall I say?….It was a decrepit bungalow and I mean
J:  Yeah, I heard Allen use that decrepit word once too.
M:  With the three dogs and the cats and….
J:  The cats mmm-hmm.  Now, tell me again how you met Bill?
M:  I met Bill through my friend, Rob Magnus.  And, Rob Magnus rented, well he was the roommate of Urban Japena.  Urban Japena is the big weaver from Ann Arbor and Urban had a beautiful house on Ed…no pardon me…on Chicago Boulevard.  And Rob had lived with me for a little while and ….That has a scratch in it up at the top but I bought it in spite of the scratch.  I didn’t think it was so bad.

(Editor: Again, Urban Jupena.)
K:  You know what?
J:  Not so bad.
K:  I would have bought it with two scratches!
M:  I have one more at Schmidt’s that’s going to come up. In fact, it may have already
J:  I think it was last Friday…
M:  the 27th or something like that…
J:  Yeah it was the 27th.
M:  Did you see it?
J:  I saw that it was there…
K:  Was it a forest scene?

J:  I couldn’t tell what that picture was.
M:  Well, I bought that in Detroit.  It was the first time I had ever seen anything of his in a gallery and it was down near the Eastern Market and it wasn’t terribly expensive which I could understand.  It was almost an all-brown and black painting and it’s not even oil.  I think it’s acrylic or…
J:  Gouache?
M:  Yes.  When you look at it, of course being an old reprobate that I am, I knew exactly what it was right in the beginning and it’s called “The Entrance to Dis” D-I-S.  I had never heard the word Dis and Bill informed me that’s Hades. So it’s sort of this meandering down and they’re all full of these stalagmites coming up but they’re all penises.

The Entrance to Dis.  Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI  1940-2011
J:  Oh! (laughs)
K:  I’ll have to look more closely.  It sold last weekend, I guess. I don’t know if it sold or not.
M:  Oh, did it sell?  I don’t know if it sold or not.  Because if it’s not it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
K:  If it didn’t, maybe we’ll talk, I don’t know. I have a lot of paintings that aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.
M:  Most of mine are not either.
K:  That’s what my wife says.  She goes, “I don’t know about these, K.”  And I’m like, “Well, we’ll see.”
M:  Well, you know, that was the way with “The Court of the Minotaur”.  You know, the people either liked it or hated it.
K:  I think it’s unbelievable…
M:  I LOVED it!
K:  It’s got so much…
M:  And the wonderful thing is that the symbolism is so great…
K:  I don’t know that much of the story but I looked it up trying to refresh myself on my mythology, mostly because of Girard?  He painted all these…you know …it was…
M: The Minotaur is very, very interesting because, let me get that again, this isn’t very conducive.  Okay, we’ve got the triumvirate here.  The Minotaur always, every year, brought youths from the main land as sacrifices and he would eat them. And, over here we have, you can’t see it here, but there is a whole line of priestesses and this is Cassandra.  Cassandra is a person who is a seer and who could look into the future.  Well, I never knew this when I bought it, but this is symbolizing Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus  and Cassandra, because her eyes are now red, is prophesizing what is going to happen, that it is going to go from paganism to Christianity.
J:  I just got chills…that’s amazing…          
K:  (laughs)
M: Now, isn’t that wild?
K: That’s fantastic!
J:  Now, where did you hear about the symbolism?  You just figured it out yourself?
M:  Oh now, Bill told me.  He used to come to my house all the time and I would ask him questions and he would tell me.
J:  Amazing!
K:  So, he was a true, like a Renaissance person who would paint but there was all this symbolism in there…
M:  Well he had a great background with art history.  Yeah.  So, I’m sure much of it was self-taught.  You know, he didn’t have a degree and
K:  But the symbolism, because that’s what the, the Renaissance painters would do.  All these different…
M:  Yeah.
K: things in there…you know, this is this and this is that and…it all came together just within that painting. I mean, that’s a fantastic painting.
M:  Yeah, I think so.  That’s a…I didn’t think this would sell because I used to have it in my study on a wild wall with Schumacher black paper with big designs on it and I had Balinesean Garudas hanging from the ceiling.  Oh, it was pure me in a very, very strange way…
K:  (laughs) I love it. I just love it.  Oh, how wonderful.
J:  Wait, so getting back to how you met Bill, so Urban Jupena…
M:  Urban Jupena introduced to me through Rob Magnus.  Since Urban rented a room and I will never forget the room as long as I live. Because it was up in the garret up on the third floor.  He had taken foil, regular tin foil, and he had coated all of the walls and the ceiling with it.  It was a silver bullet! They were both very, very different.  Urban was a good what shall I say, was a good salesperson.  Urban made wonderful, he called them flosses where he took wool and made them into figures and they’re really very, very good and they’ve become very, very valuable.  I had one and I feared that the old ladies in this complex did not need to see gluteous maximus.  They were gonna talk about with these nudes anyway.
J&K: (laughter)
M:  But that’s how I met Bill and then we started having dinner parties and Bill was always invited and then he was seeing someone named Rick and Rick and Bill would come whenever we had a gathering. And, it was very, very nice.

(Editor: Reference is to Rick [Richard] Kraus. Male art model at the College for Creative Studies and Wayne State University. Also a photographer.)

J:  aww…I wonder what happened to Rick.
M:  Oh, Rick’s still around.
J:  Is he?
M:  Mmm-hmm.  He’s still part of our group.
K:  Oh, great.
J:  Does he own any of Bill’s art too?
M:  No. Not that I…
J:  They didn’t break up well…
M:  No, he didn’t have the money.  Rick lived in a trailer  and he really appreciated, in fact, the picture that I showed you of Bill was done by Rick.  Rick had been a model at Wayne State University in the art classes. 
K:  So he’ll come in and stand and pose and the art students would…
M:  Yes.
J:  He’s still doing it?
M:  Yes.  He’s 70 something and he still has a body that is worth lookin’ at!
K:  Man oh man.  Isn’t that great!  I’m jealous.
J:  (laughs)
M:  So am I.
J:  That’s amazing!
M:  So that’s how I met Bill.  In fact I was very happy because I went to see him a week before he died.  I went to his mother’s home.
K:  So you guys were great friends for a long time…
M:  Long, long time.
J:  When Bill died, was he buried?  Was he cremated? Do we know what happened to him?
M:  You know, I don’t know.
J:  I don’t know either.
K:  Chris will know.
M:  Yes, Chris would know.  I presumed that, now I may have presumed wrong here because I think Bill came from a rather religious family, so he’s probably buried though I’m not sure, I’m not sure.

(Editor: Reference is to Chris Girard. Son of Bill and Bonnie Girard. Resident in Royal Oak, MI.)
I know he had hospice for the last part of his life and they had a bed in his mother’s very tiny living room and he was in good spirits. But, then, Bill was always in good spirits. He used to tell the most phenomenal stories about his dogs and all this….you always invited him for one reason.  You did not have to entertain your guests because Bill would sit there while I was fixing drinks and mesmerize them.  It was just very, very beautiful.
K:  You can actually tell his imagination…
M:  The imagination was amazing.
K:  I mean to take a subject and then the angle, the action, the backstory, the symbolism, the lighting, all of it.  His mind must have been constantly…I mean he had to get it all out or he’d explode.
M:  Well, that’s exactly it. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in almost all of his paintings of people, one eye is considerably larger than the other.  You can see it in “Titania”, you can see it in “Chris”, you can see it here.  And it’s an exaggeration, it’s not just a perspective but it’s a real exaggeration and I asked him about that one time.  He said, “Well, M, everyone has one eye larger than the other one.”
J:  It’s true, it’s true.
M:  Mmm-hmm, but these are exaggerated.
K:  Kind of manneristic, you know, the proportions are a little interesting, the necks are a little long…
M:  yeah, the necks are a little long…
K:  (inaudible…)which is very, very interesting.
J:  What’s your favorite Bill story?
M:  Oh what shall I say?
K&J:  There’s a lot of ‘em, I’m sure.
M: There are a lot of Bill stories, uh…it’s very interesting, whenever we would have a gathering with other people, he would come in with little gifts for everyone.  They weren’t much but it was just a very, very interesting kind of thing.  Of course, it ingratiated him immediately to everyone.  He was an interesting man.
K:  Oh…
M:  Now, Bill (meaning K), what are you going to be doing or do you know?
K:  Well….I’m a REDACTED; very, very busy.  I actually do…
M:  And, I’ll bet you that’s snow plowing now.
K:  No.  Actually my wife and I are both REDACTED.  We do mostly the design and I specialize in the REDACTED.
M:  Oh, did you.
K:  Yeah, and I design these REDACTED out of Baltimore and they’re our largest client and we do lots of these nice kinds of facilities.  Houston, Dallas, Kansas City, Charlotte, all over.  My point is, we are very, very busy right now.
M:  Oh, I know.
K:  But, this whole thing has become an obsession…I have so many interests that people say, “K, what would you do if you retire?” They say, “Oh, you’ll never retire!” And I say, “If I had the money, I’d hand in my keys today because I have so many other interests, you know?” But, I think what we would like to do is somehow…Michael Curtis in New York, he’s talking about a book and a big formal thing and he’s trying to put that together.  And, Glenn and J and I are still in the formative stages of, well, we’d like to get some sort of an inventory of all of the works.  And, I’ll get you a copy of that, of the works.  I have folders of pretty good photographs of some of the images; a lot of stuff that I got I’ve been taking photographs of and I’ve always been a collector.  Whether it’s baseball cards when I was a kid or whatever…I just like to collect. So, I’d like to have an image of every known thing like an anthology.  And maybe that eventually turns into a very limited biography with great stories which these are.  When you see the art, if you know the artist, and the people he hung around with, it makes it so much better.
M:  Oh, it really does.
K:  I mean, Allen was a total character.   If I may be so…You’re a heck of a character. She’s a character.  I’m a character.  We’re all passionate people about things. And he was one of the ultimate passionate people but he was able to express it.
M:  Yeah, he expresses it in his own way.
K:  It’s fantastic.  So, maybe a little web site.  Maybe a book. I mean, I don’t know but I don’t want it to be forgotten.
J:  That’s the most important thing…his work should be…HE should be incredibly famous.
M:  Yes, he should.  Now Ian Hornak, this artist, has become well he’s now dead in his 50’s.  But he went to all the big galleries.  These were his beginning things when I first met him. 
K:  Was he from here?

(Editor: Ian, according to Wikipedia, did in fact become quite well-known and is associated with the Hyperrealist and Photorealist movements, though his work is said to incorporate "surreal overtones.")

M:  He was from Mt. Clemens.
K:  Oh my gosh. His stuff is just…Oh!  I mean, great…       
J:  You have great taste!
M: Yes, that’s Eurydice walking Cerebrus…..
K:  Well, very much in the vain of Bill. Very much into mythology…
M:  and this is the Frog Prince
K:  Is this a print?
M: It’s a print. Mmm-hmm.
K:  (whispers) This guy’s really good too.
M:  Yeah.  This is his self-portrait down there…
K:  This one?
M:  Yes, and he looks very much like that.
K:  How old was he when he passed away.
M:  58
J:  So young
K:  That’s a year older than me.  Oh.
J:  How did he die?
M: Suddenly and no one knows.
J:  Oh! So sad.
M:  Yeah it is.
K: This is a really great… Crazy beautiful piece here…
M:  The one that I sold you should have…I had a marvelous one I’ll never forget.  Ian had made a suite of Beauty and the Beast and it was a very graphic female nude and then the beast with the big horns down and it was a very defiant black and white and it was that size and…
K:  oh!
M:  I told him once, I said, “Ian, I am almost at the stage where I can put that on my wall because it was really erotic..
K:  Racy!
M: No, it was erotic!  And he said, “Fine.”  And, he brought me the artist’s proof  the next time he came over and I had it framed exactly the same way as this.  I had this on one end of the wall and the other one on the other.  And it was really beautiful, I really loved it.
K: Oh!
J:  It was so hard to part with some of these things. 
M:  Well, when you get older, it’s not as hard as you think.
J:  You’re not that old! You look so young.
M:  Well, I’m 80.
J:  WHAT??
M:  Yes I am.
J:  You don’t look close!
K:  I’d guess maybe 65.
M:  Well, you’d better get everything soon.
J:  My goodness you don’t look close! You’re going to live to be 150!
K:  My word!
M: I’ve worked my estate since you were in Allen’s estate; when I moved, I didn’t want to have my sisters have to get rid of everything.  That was the reason I moved. 
J:  Brilliant.
M:  Other than the fact that I’ve had two hip replacements and I lived in a townhouse with up and down and everything on….So anyway, I worked it so that my handyman who has been working with me for 8 years now, we moved everything in here, of course, with the movers. And, I told him, “Walter, when I pass, this is all yours.”
K:  Wow
M:  So my sisters will have to do nothing but take care of my money.
K:  Wow!  So Walter loves him too?
M:  Yes, but I do want to be sure that Walter knows where he can sell ‘em because you  know that these are not everyone’s cup of tea.
K:  Well, hopefully our little club, The Girard Society, we’re the founding members will help each other with that and (phone ringing) or sell them to each other or something because they’re not everyone’s cup of tea…

(Editor: This is my first exposure to "The Girard Society." I tend to refer to the Friends of Bill Girard community.)
M:  They’re not everyone’s cup of tea.
K: But the more I take inventory, (phone still ringing) the more I’m looking, you start to get hooked.
M:  You do.
K:  Especially when you understand everything.
(Phone answering machine and message from his sister, Felicia about M’s surgery tomorrow.)
M:  Big talkers in my family.
J:  that’s good…she loves you too!
M:  So, well that’s good.  Let me know what I can do to help you.
J:  You’ve done so much already.  This is… I just can’t even express what a thrill it is to sit here and look at THAT compared to what my crappy print is.  This is just amazing!
(phone ringing again…K’s cell this time)
K:  So what I’ve been doing with J’s help is She’s the real Excel-ish person.  We have all these Excel sheets and here’s a comedy picture of Allen; and there’s a picture of Bill that we found and I’ll have to get you some copies.  But, I just started listing…
M:  Are these all that you have?
K:  I have a number of these.
M:  I like the sculptures too.
K:  Yeah, I have the Lawyers, I have the Angel, I have Mother Goose, I have the Frog, I have this little box, I have these two, I have…

The Advocates. Polychromed Hydrocal.  Height: 20".
Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI. 1940-2011 
Mother Goose. Bronze. Height: 22".
Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI. 1940-2011 
(Editor: Bill never quite forgave Allen Abramson, his patron, for having the piece finished with a dark green, nearly black, patina. His original is a grayish powder blue and that's what he felt this piece, intended to appeal to children, needed. He talked about it with me just a few months before his passing.)

M:  Oh, well good!
K:  Yeah, actually just between us in the Society, I have the chess set.
M:  Oh my!  That is very exceptional!
K:  It is.  It gives me goosebumps.
J:  We were saying, because once a year …
K:  I’m just a “private collector”
J:  Yeah, he’s a private collector, that’s right.  We were saying that the Center for Creative Studies once a year they have an exhibit of the works from the alumni and you can only submit two things.  So, we said, “what two things would you choose?”  and well, the chess set for sure and now I’ve just changed my mind.  I’d choose that!  That or that! (laughter)
M:  I got this one from that show.
J:  No!
M:  Yes. That is Scheherazade.  She’s putting her hands  in a pool and the sheik is over there and all of the stories are the details in the back.  It’s a beautiful painting.  I’m so glad that it sold for a halfway decent price and not only that but to a person that I like and know.
K:  Well, now they can be a member of our little society.
M:  Marvin Nash has a nice little antique shop.
K: So what I’ll do is send you…I can e-mail…it isn’t that big; it was only 5 or something and then you can just take them and pull them and enlarge them.  And I also have high resolution photos in other files so when we do a little web site or do something, because these get a little fuzzy when you start lookin’ at ‘em on the screen.  But this is sort of how we’ve taken Allen’s collection and inventoried it; I’ve taken what our friend Glenn has and sort of inventoried it and then I took what Michael Curtis and in our own little thing I inventoried that also. 

(Editor: Glenn is yours truly, Glenn Scott Michaels. Phoenix, Arizona.)
M:  Wow, great!
K:  So I’ll just e-mail these to you tonight or tomorrow. And you can start looking at ‘em and get some… it’s a ton of stuff.  I took pictures of the pencil sketches and the ink sketches and
J:  He painted eggs.  There’s a leaf he had painted.
K:  I have that.  He painted a little leaf..
J:  It’s this tall!  A little leaf!  Just a dead leaf that fell off a plant someplace and he painted it; he made a picture on it!
M:  Well, when you need pictures of what I have, you can just take them.
K:  Do you mind if I take a few tonight?
M:  No, as long as I get them back because I want to be sure that Walter knows…
K:  I would send you…these would just be little…what’s his name?
M:  This is not too bad (looking at his photos).
K:  I actually have a copy of this.  Don’t give me any of these yet because I might have taken off the Internet since this was for sale, I’ve got a copy of
M:  Oh, this is a pretty good picture.
K:  Yeah.  And then I have a picture of that but I may take another one because of course, in reality they’re so much better.
J:  Oh, I love this one.
M:  Yeah, I do to.
J:  I can see why you placed it right next to you where you can see it all the time…
K:  So I’ll get you the copies then when we get more, I might have just a little spreadsheet of…some of these images…
M:  You have that already…
K:  Yeah, but they’re crummy.  But I’ll give you these because I think you’d enjoy just the collection that you may have never seen.  And some of the sketches, some of these little pencil sketches are just fantastic.
M:  Well, I know he must have had a treasure trove.
K:  Allen had a bunch of it.  But I think only from what I’m guessing only from, when did he meet him, 64 or 65?
J:  I think it was 64.
K:  And they knew each other into the 70s.
J:  They had a falling out.
M:  Yes, they had a falling out.
K:  they were on and off like many good friends.
J:  But then later, when Bill became sick, Allen did buy some things from him.
K:  Oh did he?  So maybe some of his collection…
J:  Some of the more abstract…
M:  He may have used that… I know they didn’t have money at all and he may have just used that to send to his mother for the funeral or whatever.
J:  Yeah. 
M:  Well, I also know, because the last time I saw him he mentioned that he had seen Allen.  This was before he was really sick, sick.  And I was pleased because there’s no sense in going to the grave and having hostilities.
J:  Allen told the story of the last time that he was at Allen’s condo and he went there with Glenn Michaels…
K:  That’s right because I think Glenn drove Bill… Our friend Glenn came to see Bill and drove him to Allen’s…
J:  And he said that Bill went up to, well his pictures were hanging everywhere, and he stood in front of them and Allen said he saw him start to cry and Allen said, “Why are you crying?” and he said “I really did do good work, didn’t I.”
M:  Well you know what is so interesting…
J:  And he went on to say, “You made it possible, Allen”
M:  Yeah, well, Bill often, when he would come over to my place would look very closely at the canvasses to see if they were holding up.  He was very much concerned about that.
Especially “Titania”.  Now, I think the thing that is so interesting to me is that this Ian Hornak painting when I look at it, I’ve got a moon over here and a moon over there…
J:  Yeah, they look like they could be from the same guy. They really do. I noticed that the small Ian Hornak right there and the small one there are very reminiscent of some of the Girard drawings
K:  Wait till you see some of the things I’m going to send you.  You’re going to say ‘These two could have been brothers painting next to each other!’
J:  They really could have.
M:  Well, I’ve always been…
K:  You have good taste!
M:  …one for theme and variation!
M:  that is it.
J:  This is such a joy.  I am so stunned by that (Titania).  It’s SO much better in person.
M:  It always looked wonderful when it was over the mantle.  It was lighted and it was really very, very nice.
J:  I’m gonna see if I can’t get you some gallery lights. You know where you go to get ‘em?
M:  Where?
J:  DuMouchelle’s.  You go down there and Bob DuMouchelle has hundreds and hundreds of gallery lights.  Now, they’re going to have the cords on them but…

(Editor: Reference is to DuMouchelles Art Gallery, an auction house in Detroit, MI.)
M:  Well, yes because they come with the paintings!
J:  Uh-huh because people don’t want the old, used gallery lights, but you can
M:  I was very disappointed with DuMouchelles because I had a lot to sell.  My house was chock-a-block full of antiques because my best friend was Morris Reed who was an antiques dealer.  We went all over New York and Canada and all over antiquing.  So, I had a lot of good antiques. When I called them an told them that I was liquidating my place, and by the way, I lived right… a half a mile away…
K:  I was going to say…not even…
M:  They said, “No, you’ll have to bring them in.”
J:  What?
M:  Yes.  And, of course, their premium is 40%.
K:  That’s their premium?
M:  That’s their premium, plus the buy gives them another 20%.
K:  So, sellers is 40 and buyers is 20?
M:  That’s right.
J:  Yeah, now it’s 17 on both ends.
M:  Oh, is that what it is now? Well they must have found that they just…Schmidt’s goes 35 but they came and took everything and made their own inventory and the whole works.  It made it so much easier and I felt that, well maybe with the Ann Arbor crowd and the Eastern Michigan crowd it may be okay.  Well, you will find out later on that all of your furniture and everything else is just second hand stuff to everyone else.
K:  (inaudible)
M: Well, I don’t feel they are but, hopefully we can make them do well (the Girards).  I want that for everyone.
J:  Do you have any suggestions for how to; well we know we want to do a web site, we know that. Do you have any suggestions/ideas for how we can make Bill better known? More commonplace?
M:  I think that if you can find a halfway decent gallery that is small and do a respective.
K:  So that’s not necessarily a sale but a just an introduction to the work?
M:  That’s right and
K:  What’s it called?

M:  You could have a respective.
J:  Isn’t it an introspective?
M:  No, not on introspective a respect…just a minute….a respective.
(laughter about something)
M:  and show some things; don’t have anything for sale. And only have it for maybe two days or a week.
K:  Probably after the web site is up so people can go and learn more or learn a little bit about it or see other works, or…
M:  There’s a little gallery near Wayne State University called Hannan House and it’s in a retirement community building but it has parking behind and they have an art gallery on the first floor and I have bought many things from that art gallery over the years.  And Shirley Perish and Tom Perish show there a couple of times a year so it’s really as much of an educational institution as it is the other so that might be there.  Mmm-hmm.
And, it wouldn’t be expensive.  And they do advertise.
K:  I like your idea in the whole Wayne State area because these works are completely Wayne State and that whole but I think the key is getting a small web site up or something so people can then say, Oh, visit the web site and learn more. So then the whole culture can be cultivated.
J:  That’s a good suggestion.
M:  It’s just a thought.
J:  And, what do you think about the Ann Arbor crowd?  Do you think going over that way is a good idea?
M:  You know, I don’t really know.  Of course I spent some years at Ann Arbor, it was unreal, but not in the art department.  I started out in the art department at Wayne so I was very, very familiar with that but not at U of M. So, I just don’t know.  However, Urban Jupena still lives in Ann Arbor and he might be a good contact. And, Urban, by the way, sells his weavings and he always told me it was too bad Bill wasn’t a better businessman.  
K:  Michael Curtis had a few pieces of the collection from Urban Jupena.  Some good ones; some major heavy ones. Maybe not as heavy as Dionysus there but bigger.
M:  Many of them bigger.
K:  Well, you’ll see on the list and you may be able to say, “Oh, that is in this collection or that collection.” This little list that we have is very private among us, I don’t want to go out and tell who has what.  But it would be nice for a collector to know where the pieces are and then Urban Jupena might say, “I’d like to meet with you folks; this is great to reminisce and things.”
M:  Well, Urban is phenomenal and he’s made money at his art.
K:  Good for him!
J:  Does he ever go by the name of Joseph? Michael must have that wrong the because he referred to him as Joseph Jupena and not Urban.
M:  Now Joseph Jupena, I think and I may be wrong here, I think I’m right is Urban’s brother who lives in Philadelphia in Pennsylvania or somewhere and he had a lot of Bill’s paintings.

Fire and Ice. Oil. 58" x 33". Titled after the Robert Auden poem.
Originally collection of Joseph Jupena. Current location unknown.
Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI 1941-2011      

Pandora. Oil. 1980. 57" x 47". Originally collection of Joseph Jupena.
 Current location unknown. 
Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI 194--2011  

(Editor: Bill told me, if I recollect correctly, that he traded Pandora to Joseph Jupena for an acre of land in Pennsylvania. Later, he chose to sell that land.)

K:  Okay, so we heard about a person in Pennsylvania that had a lot of Bill’s paintings so there we are!
M:  Urban’s brother.
J:  (discussing a painting she owns by Bill while showing a picture of it to M)
J:  (story about Aunt Felicia getting married at age 98)
M:  I LOVE that story!
J:  (shows M more of her Girard pix)
M:  Yeah, these are all more whimsical kinds of things; they don’t appeal to me quite as much.
J:  (shows more of her Girard pix)
M:  I would have love to have seen that one (Allen’s birthday card).
J:  (shows “Angels” pic)
M:  Oh that’s lovely.  And look at the detail in that with the roses and everything.  Just wonderful.
You can always tell Bill Girard’s breasts. They’re very, very similar in every painting.
J:  (laughing) They’re pretty high and perky!
M:  Mmm-hmm, they’re always high and perky.
J:  He liked high and perky, I guess!
K: (taking pictures) Thank you so much.
M:  Well, I wish there were more; I really do.
J: (showing pictures from Allen’s estate) This picture sits on the mantle of a lady named Mary Lou Zieve.
M:  Oh, I love that!
J: It’s only this big by this big (about 7” x 7”) and the detail is magnificent. K and I feel that it might be another “Narcissus”.
M: It very well could be.
K: Yes, he has lots of “Narcissuses”.
M: My Narcissus was, uh, the phallus on it was so big that it was I just thought not something my new owner compatriots would like.
K:  (talks about how Beth doesn’t have the Girard bug and doesn’t like the phallic symbols either and)
J:  (showing more pictures from Allen’s estate telling the story about finding many original sketches in Allen’s files and turning them over to K)
M:  Now, why in the world have I been calling K, Bill?
J:  Just don’t call him late for dinner! (receives phone call)
M:  Are they coming out alright, K?
K:  Yes, I’ll send you copies.
M:  Very good.
M:  You have a LOT!
J:  I have 11 Girards and K must have about 500, I guess (laughs).
K:  Everything that no one would buy from the estate, I wrote them a check and got the rest of them.
M:  All I can say is that I’m very, very glad that you did.
K:  I have some folios of just some sketches and whimsical things.  Bill had a crazy sense of humor!
Very clever, very intellectual.  You must have had just a hoot every time you guys got together!
J: (showing more pix on the phone)
M:  I like this one.
J:  That’s the “Venus of Chelm” (tells story of Chelm)

The Venus of ChelmOil on canvas. 1972. 32" x 40". Artist: Bill Girard. Royal Oak, MI 1941-2011  

M:  I’ve seen a different rendition of this. Urban Jupena had it. So many of Bill’s paintings have a varnish gloss that makes it very, very hard to photograph.  Not only to photograph but to use unless they’re totally lighted.
K:  Allen had a little light on everything. He had boxes and boxes of little lights.  One of the first ones I bought that I completely love of Ariadne and Bacchus is a magnificent  Bill Girard.  Buxom women, little fairies, it’s fantastic. 
M:  Bill did do repairs too.  Orpheus was a beautiful painting but the only place in my house where it looked good with the light coming in was in the bathroom and I said, ‘I’m not putting a Bill Girard in the bathroom.”
J:  I have 3 in my bathroom!
M:  I had to reframe everything!  Or, should I say frame everything because most of the things were not.
M:  (looking at more pictures) Well, I’m jealous now!  I’m really jealous!
M:  I didn’t explain one thing in that “Entrance to Dis” with all the phalluses.  You came through the path and went over and way in the background there was a carousel all lighted with little lights.  I asked Bill, “What is this?  A carousel?” and he says, “Well, even sinners have to have fun!”
K:  I wish I would have known him.
M:  My goodness!  I’m not sure I’d like to live with him.
K:  (mentions Michael Curtis)
M:  You know, Michael Curtis was the one that was in the New York group.
J:  Michael Curtis.  Did you know him well?
M:  You know what it is, I know his name because Bill said his name many, many times.
K:  In vain?
M:  No, he liked him very much.
J:  They didn’t like each other in the end.
M:  Well, Bill could be prickly.  He’s an artist. But then, other people can be prickly too.
K:  Friends come and go and it’s an ebb and flow. You have to have thick skin.
M:  I was very, very happy that Bill liked my place because whenever I bought something I framed it right away and it went on the wall.
J:  (mentions K’s lack of hanging any of his Girards, jokingly J)
M:  You’ll just have to build a house, that’s all.
K: After the estate sale, it was a little chaotic.  And, J said, ‘K, write a check and come get these because I don’t know what’s going to happen with them.’
M:  Good idea.  How much was Chris involved?  I called Chris before and I wanted to know where he thought I should sell.  I wasn’t worried about how much money they were going to bring to me but I didn’t want them to be a huge fiasco on the market.
K:  That’s what we didn’t want too.
M:  Chris didn’t have any information or at least didn’t give me any information.
J:  (explains Allen’s and Chris’s falling-out due to Allen’s mental state)
M:  I think Bill told me something about when he (Allen) was moving that he was saying people were stealing things from him.
K:  I helped him move.  I had all of his sculptures in my house for two years. I had the chess set and all of his other pieces.  Now it’s there for more than two years!  And, trying to move all of those things??
M:  That’s exactly it. When Schmidt’s came in and took things, I had nothing except what I had pinpointed that I was going to bring here.  I bought big, ugly furniture because I’ve gotten to the point where I like big, comfy chairs.
K:  I have lots of heavy, stickly things. Beth wants a soft sofa. (finishes taking photos) Thank you very, very much.  Do you have e-mail?
M: (writes down e-mail – REDACTED)
K:  (Will bring M a thumb drive of all the photos.  Mentions slides of the chess set pieces.)
M:  I LOVE that chess set!  If there’s anything I can do, let me know.
M:  (address:  REDACTED)
K:  I’m excited for you to see all of the pictures.  I’ve scanned a lot of the old slides of things I’ve never seen before.  Maybe you’ll remember some of them.
M:  I’m excited to see them too!  Anything that I can do for you just give me a call.


Later, J asked M about the surgery, scheduled for the following day, mentioned by his sister in her voice mail.  He has melanoma on the back of his head and was getting it removed the following day.   That can be a pretty scary thing and we tried to call a few days later but didn’t hear from M until February 10th.  He was still recovering and was finally able to make it down to the dining room in the facility and be up and around a bit.  He did receive the flowers we sent and said they really gave him a lot of cheer and said that he was very, very happy we had called and gotten in touch with him.  He’s looking forward to future visits once he feels better.



Master of Mud (aka artist) and former Center for Creative Studies (CCS), Detroit,  professor of art, Bill (William J.) Girard Jr., passed away in 2011. The website created to honor him is at


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