The Mystery Art Mural – Part 2

Kathleen001Kathleen Bell, who inherited wrote to me last night and told the story to the best of her recollection. It’s a great little piece of Las Vegas History in itself, so I’m just going to post it for you.

What I’d written yesterday came from a conversation with her over dinner after the Classic Las Vegas Panel Discussion on Thursday, but it’s really better in her own words:

Rather odd to hear my father described as a publisher. That was just one of his sidelines. He was also the campaign manager for Congressman Walter S. Baring and saw to it that he stayed in Washington for some 14 terms. In the 70’s they called him the King Maker in the R.J. He all but ruled the NV Legislature at one time. He was Loved, Hated and Feared. One of the Old School politicians, helped win Nevada for many, including Jack Kennedy. He was very closed mouthed about a good many people and situations. “It was healthier”, he’d say. I wish I knew the complete story but this is what I do know.


Folklore has it that an Art Director or Sketch Artist, someone of that ilk came to Las Vegas in the (50’s – 60’s?) gambled, couldn’t pay the large debt in full. Rather than being escorted to the desert, this person was allowed to paint this piece and it hung in the (unknown) Casino’s coffee shop. I am unable to find a signature. There may be another piece somewhere that has a signature, or perhaps the artist did not want it known. Many unanswered questions. I am trying to ascertain the veracity of the folklore associated with the chiaroscuro with respect to the identity of the artist, the year it was painted, the location and exactly where it hung and for how long, (casino & location in the casino), who commissioned said piece, as well as the particular format and initial ownership.  Another curiosity is, why was this person allowed to paint this instead of being escorted to the desert as was often the norm in the past.  A sweetheart deal perhaps?

Can hardly wait for feedback. Thank you for your help.

Kathleen Bell