to the studio with his friend
Jean Dennell, a notable watercolor artist herself. As it happened,
to Mulleian's painting was virtually the opposite
of Janviers. Her quietly startled reaction
took several minutes
to find a voice. She, at first, seemed overwhelmed by the paintings
powerfully dramatic message
and technical brilliance. Quietly, gradually, she moved ever closer to
the canvas, intensely studying
every detail without saying a word. She was overtaken by the piece.
was and is a deeply spiritual woman who had come
from a Catholic background and was most comfortable with
the old, traditional Latin Mass. So it was as though she had known the
paintings title before even seeing the canvas.
Out of what seemed like the silence of eternity, from under her breath and absolutely
without effort, came the words Dies Irae. To everyones amazement
and with a burst of exuberant relief, they suddenly realized the paintings
this day, nearly thirty three years later and at the age of nearly ninety, Jean
Dennell has never forgotten the enormous personal impact of the work, an impact
which hasnt faded since she first laid eyes upon the artists easel,
and the painting of the day of wrath, which she named Dies Irae, one sunny afternoon
in August of 1987.
almost exactly twenty three years later, after being inadvertently out of touch
for the last ten years, and after personal losses for both Dennell and Mulleian,
(she, with the death of two of her three sons, he, with the death of his long-time
companion Robert Arbegast) the warmth of their friendship has continued. Dennell
still lives in San Francisco, producing vibrant watercolors of many subjects,
but most notably of the indigenous peoples of Honduras and greater Latin America.