The art world is rife with paintings of old men. The halls of power, academia, galleries and museums are festooned with centuries’ worth of portraits of males who supposedly changed the world, a little or a lot.
So when it was suggested to artist Catherine Jones nearly 20 years ago that she start painting veterans--old men, all--she recoiled. That genre had been done to death, or so she thought.
“I said, ‘oh yeah, right. Old guys on canvas. That’ll get me kicked out of the art world,’” recalls Jones, who to that point had been a conceptual artist.
Except that these old men, dispatched by the powerful, really had changed the world—with their guts, their wits and their devotion. They were Second World War veterans, every one, and Jones, who started painting them while recovering fro...