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Fishing Tableau

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This diorama was made by Daniel Goldstein, my husband’s paternal grandfather, and a man with an inventive and creative soul. Through his over 95 years he designed, built, embellished, and sewed countless items large and small. He played the washtub bass (“gut bucket”) in a folk band and also wrote poetry and short stories, performing some of them at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. When he was in his 70s he built this and another five similar pieces of varying sizes. As his son, Stuart Goldstein explained to me, he bought nothing but the paint and hand carved everything: “Informed by the Depression, Dad created affectionate images from memory out of scraps of materials on hand.” I’ve always been particularly attracted to his careful lettering—visible here and in other pieces he created—and suspect he may have learned it while taking advertising classes at John Hay Night School in the 1930s in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

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