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CAN YOU PLEASE tell me about this oil paint­ing? My dis­tant Aus­trian rel­a­tives were given it by a priest for help­ing him and his fam­ily dur­ing World War I. Th­ese rel­a­tives then gave the paint­ing to my 90-year-old grand­mother when she vis­ited them in Yu­goslavia. This is ba­si­cally all we know. We’d love to find out who the artist was, as well as when and where it was painted. Any in­for­ma­tion would be ap­pre­ci­ated. Michelle Sul­li­van, MACKAY, QLD This happy scene is typ­i­cal of many Euro­pean paint­ings dat­ing from around 1900. Some women sit around a ta­ble drink­ing a cor­dial, while mu­si­cians play in­stru­ments and two court­ing cou­ples dance. One of the men wears a mil­i­tary uni­form — he may be home on leave and the cause for the cel­e­bra­tion. The women wear dresses typ­i­cal of the early 1800s. Two chil­dren mimic the dancers. It all takes place out­doors at the end of sum­mer. Paint­ings like this are ro­man­tic evo­ca­tions of a past that never ex­isted. They were most com­monly painted af­ter war and dif­fi­cult times when the nos­tal­gic im­agery con­jures up a time when an am­a­teur work­ing in Aus­tria.

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