Photograph by Martha Busse
When Michael Hinden inherited a small painting from his father, he couldn’t have imagined the events it would set into motion.
But that painting—an intimate interior scene created in the 1860s—become the first and only permanent work in Art in the Afternoon, a gallery Hinden and his wife, Betsy Draine, run out of their Middleton home.
“As we began looking for other works from that period to hang beside it, we discovered that there were hundreds of wonderful painters active in the nineteenth century, many of whom have since been forgotten,” Hinden says.
“The more we were on the hunt, the more we wanted to buy,” Draine adds.
After retiring from UW–Madison—both were emeritus English professors—they took inspiration from friends who once ran Spaightwood Galleries in Madison and opened Art in the Afternoon in September 2007.
The gallery specializes in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century paintings and prints by European and American artists, some well known and some obscure. Prices range from $500 to $15,000, with most works under $2,000.
The collection may be viewed online at artintheafternoon.net. But set up an appointment to view the art in person, and Hinden and Draine can explain when and where the artists painted, as well as each work’s importance. They’ll also share their extensive research, often pulling out books to show references.
“As we are both retired English professors,” Hinden says, “research is something we like to do.”
|Madison Magazine - May 2008|