Finding Dolores Rausch
On Saturday June 22nd 2019 I found a painting at the Swap meet that spoke to me, as paintings often do. It’s signed by J. Rausch and depicts what appears to be two girl marionettes, and it has a rather nice 1960’s feel to it.
A friend saw the painting and told me that a few years ago she’d found several paintings in a local thrift store, all with the same signature. She thought that the paintings were done by a local Tucson artist who had passed away and that all her works had been donated to the store she’d then found them in.
I did a little bit of Internet sleuthing and found the obituary of Dolores J. Rausch who had passed away on June 22 2014 and was buried at the East Lawn Palms Mortuary and Cemetary, here in Tucson. I noticed that the date of her death was the exact same day 5 years later I had found her painting at the Swap Meet.
I’m endlessly fascinated with the idea of connecting the abandoned art I discover to the person that created it. It’s usually impossible, as paintings are frequently unsigned, and if they are signed the signature is often illegible, as is often the case with Artists. With this painting I was curious to know if the deceased Dolores J. Rausch and the signature J. Rausch were one and the same person, so I set off to the Cemetary with the painting to see if I could make the connection.
Having checked at the front desk, I was handed a map and directed to the crypt where J. Rausch was interred. After wandering around the serenely sunlit crypt I finally found the right place, and of course it was way, way up at the very top. I used my phone to take a photo of the name attached to the marble tomb and could see that it read Eldred Albert Rausch 1922 -2013 and just below was a sticker attached that read Dolores J. Rausch 1920-2014
I wasn’t sure why Dolores didn’t have a fancy brass name plate like her husband, but I knew I wanted to figure out how to take a photo of her tomb and her painting together. I followed the sound of some voices coming from somewhere in the crypt, and came across two maintenance men, who I decided were literally the Crypt Keepers. I explained that I was trying to find the tomb of the artist of the painting I had brought with me, but it was up at the very top, and maybe they had a ladder I could use.
The explained that we couldn’t use a ladder because we were in a mauseleum, which made sense to me, but they didn’t mind reaching up and holding the painting as high as they could.
““If you could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”