Living room

The Widow
The Widow

Back in 2001, just before I left Alaska and the USA to return to Ireland, I took a last-minute whirlawind tour of the south. Along with my good friend RosaB, I flew into New Orleans and hired a car. From there we headed to Biloxi, Missipippi, over to Birmingham, Alabama, across Northern Florida and into Savannah, Georgia.

One of my lasting memories of the city was the sweltering heat – it was November and it was in the eighties. We took a carriage tour of the city and our driver apologised: ‘if only you’d come last week; the weather was warmer then’!

Savannah is laid out in squares – 21 if I remember rightly. And being in the South, it’s, well it’s so southern… polite. Yes ma’am. I have a morbid fascination with wars. And prisons. And cemeteries. And ghosts. I found this painting by Kathleen Gorenflo in a gallery on River Street.  The widow in the picture is visiting her husband’s grave. He was killed during the Civil War sometime between 1861 and 1865 and you can just see his ghost behind the tombstone. The picture haunted me. I’ve been packing and unpacking it for eight years and now it finally is hanging up, on the wall. My wall. In my living room. In my flat. In Budapest.

It’s double matted – the bottom mount is a pale green, which is now the colour of my walls. The frame is a goldish bronze tinged with a copper green. It’s not an antique but it has an ‘old-world’ look to it so I wanted an ‘old world’ feel to my living room. Take a look and see what else I found.

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65 Responses

  1. Mary, I remember how taken you were by that piece of art and how proud of it you were.It is a beautiful piece..I am so happy it has found a home in BudaPest with you.Your flat is lovely and your great taste and style have made it so interesting and homey..I love it..The Chobi Carpet is stunning and the bedrooms are so inviting and restful looking..the table a beautiful piece of furniture and you have done and amazing job..You have great taste and style..Thank You for sharing it all..I have really enjoyed seeing all your good work..Your Friend Rosemary

  2. Mary,
    I have to tell you that this is the most haunting painting I have ever seen, no wonder it called your name and that you just had to have this most beautiful piece.
    I can only imagine what it must look like on your living room wall, I feel as though it might have to follow me into which ever room I was occupying at the time.

    Must also tell you that this is great the entire blog and the way you have set it up into rooms or I guess you could say the compartments of your life & mind. Please keep yourself busy writing, as I always have so enjoyed your words of wisdom and the tales of your travels.

    This entire site is beautiful and I feel a bit like a child who only gets one chapter a night and then must wait with ever growing impatience to see what is next to arrive on the pages.

    Aloha, and we miss you so much, keep writing there is book in you somewhere and this might be the start.
    Besides I must know what took your breath away!!

  3. Mary,

    I, lso bought my copy of “The Widow” by Kathleen Gerenflo at most likely the same store that you purchassed yours in Savanah. I absolutely loved the picture from the moment I saw it while on my way to Florida for vacation. Well, I thought about that picture all vacation long (a week) nd on the way home, I asked my husband to stop in Savannah so I could get that picture. Mine was hung immediately upon arriving home on a wall in my foyer. I purchased mine framed in adark wooden oval frame and I have had so many nice comments about it. Some people just stop and stare at it before telling me how much they love it. I was told the picture was photographed in Holllywood Cemetery. in Richmond VA. I just had to leave a comment to you, as ourfascination of the same piece of art is so closely shared.

    1. Thanks Karen… amazing how small the world is when it is reflected in one piece of art. Interestingly, I was sure it had been painted… and yet you say photographed? mmmmm

      1. The picture is a black and whit photo that my mom hand tinted.. That was the way she did all of her work.

  4. hi , i have been looking for this picture for about a year and have had no luck . does anyone know where i might be able to get a copy of it ? thanks

    1. Hi Billy – I got mine years ago in Savannah in a little gallery… no idea of the name. Sorry I can’t help!

    1. Thanks Mary< my husband iis a historian and reenactor and he got injured and has been unable to attend the events. How do I contact Chuck Johnson? I live in TN and have been searching for ths for about 10 years.

  5. I found my print of “The Widow” in an amish country store, I paid less than 10.00 for it. I seen it and knew that i had to have it, there was just something about that picture! anyways, my print has kathleen written in the bottom left corner with the year 96 right under it. Also, her husbands ghost is kneeling down behind her holding her arm. I am wondering how many different prints there are. I googled it but nothing but this page comes up. If anyone knows, let me know please.

    1. From what I can remember, Lori, I had four to choose from when I got mine. Will check when I get back to Budapest if mine has a date or any information on the back. She’s a hard woman to track down.

  6. I have 3 of her photographs. Two are titled “The Widow”. One has the widow facing the headstone with the husband behind her. One has the widow facing the headstone with the husband on the other side of the headstone. The other is husband and wife walking down a tree covered walkway toward a plantation house. Love all 3 of my photographs. I got them at the River Street Art Gallery in Savannah, GA. I was in Savannah about 2 years ago and the proprietor of the gallery told me she didn’t know if Ms. Gorenflo would be doing any other photographs because Ms. Gorenflo had been ill,

  7. I just googled my Mom’s name and this site came up. My mom created this image and we are all touched by it. I am thrilled to see that others were also touched. My mom passed away this March – this picture has new meaning for my dad.

    Anyway – if you are interested in prints a shop called Old South Art outside of Georgia carries the prints, the owner name Chuck Johnson.

    Thank you everyone for the kind thoughts…


    1. My daughter-in-law purchased two framed pictures done by your Mother when she was in Savannah on vacation and absolutely loves them!! I am interested in finding more, if there is more. I live in upstate NY near the canadian border and would love to know where I can find them . She has The Widow and Revisited. I tried on- line, but came up empty. Please help…. Thank you.

    2. Nikki: I saw this print at an event years ago and couldn’t purchase it. I have searched since for it. Where could I get the print? My husband is sick of hearing me ask for it all the time and we can’t find it. He was a reenactor but due to an injury he is not able at present to partiocipate in the events at present.

  8. I saw the print at a Civil War Reenactment in Florida. It is beautiful. I have been kicking myself ever since for not buying it. Thank you for advising as to where it can be found.

  9. I have two of ” the Widow” photographs, they were gifts from re-enacting friends.They bought them for me for two reasons 1. I would cook for them. and 2. I am the Widow, and my husband Garry is the soldier in the photograph. The photos were taken at the Re-enactment of the surrender of Appomatox, at the small cemetery near the Appomatox Courthouse in Virginia. It was a wonderful experience working with Mrs. Gorenflo, I am soory to hear of her passing. I found online a poetry contestwhere, where this print is shown as inspiration for the poems. It was fascinating to read all the poetry.

    1. Hi Sheree… Deep down I always knew that Garry was a ‘real’ but a little part of me hoped that he wasn’t. Thanks for the links!

  10. I just saw one like this at an old mansion in Ohio (Prospect Place). I took a photo of the photo so that I could use the information to find a copy for myself. Indeed, it is a stunning piece!

  11. I too cam upon “The Widow” print in a shop in Florida and fell in love with it. when I went back it was gone. It’s one of those art pieces that draws you in! Wonderful piece, if anyone knows where it can be had let me know.


    1. Hi Gayle – see Nikki’s post some time ago: a shop called Old South Art outside of Georgia carries the prints, the owner name Chuck Johnson. You might try contacting her directly to see if she has more information.

      1. Thanks Mary! My husband was/is a historian and reenactor and I saw this print at an event and we haven’t attended any lately due to an injury and he cannot march now. This was about 10 years ago and I have looked since. How do I Chuck Johnson?

  13. Hey- this is the contact information I have for Chuck.
    Old South Art & Frame
    Proprietor: Chuck Johnson

    Not sure if he is still carrying the prints but he should be able to help out.

    Appreciate everyone’s interest in my mom’s art.

      1. Mary please check out my latest post it has all the widows info on it for your readers. It was a long and exhausting search and I would like to share it with your other cyber friends so they dont have to gothrough this. Additionaly you may be interested in obtaining the other prints and with my info you will be able to. Chuck also has other Gorenflo work you may be interested in. Gayle

  14. GREAT NEWS Everyone, After a long and exhausting search I have found all the widows and other works by Kathleen Gorenflo. Contact Chuck Johnson at 770-471-3621 His email is Chuck@rumcreek He is most kind helpful and very reasonable not to mention a joy to work with!

  15. Mary: Just checking your latest post my Mother is very ill and I dont get a chance to get on the computer much. I spend half my week 24 hours a day caring for her. I’m not sure on this computer (it belongs to my daughter) how to do a link I will get her to show me how. When ever I do get on the computer I always comme to your site! I love it

  16. Mary Chuck gave me the e-mail on the phone he is not good at finding things on the computer. I told him I would post on your site for him. I think he gave me some bad info. He is shipping my picture and info on Kathleen to me…the picture you have is the horizontal view I am ordering the vertical vies which has her husband in a fog behind her reaching toward her. The other is a plantation with them in it before the war. He only has a few of the one I am ordering as I understood it but he has some rights on the picture you own and has alot of them. When I receive my picture and info i will post immediately to your site for the benefit of all your cber friends who I count myself amoungest them .

      1. Mary the best alternative is to call Chuck the site only has the phone # which I posted. His work is gorgeous and I plan to order the Plantation one which shows the couple before the tragedy. I am going to put one on each side of my fireplace to make the widow even more haunting.Thanks for your help in ending a 10 year search. I am trying to repay your kindness by helping your other fans as I was helped. Thanks a million!!Gayle

  17. Hi there, I have the exact same print “The Widow” in a nice frame. Do you know the value of this picture by chance?

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