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Cat. no. 92-02

Pinatubo Twilight on the Rio Grande

Date: Apr-92
Item Type: Painting
Support: Canvas (Cotton Or Linen)
Dimensions: 36 X 24
Agent / Institution: NAWA


Pinatubo Twilight on the Rio Grande, 36 x 24.

(Wilson wrote this in a letter to Imelda Marcos, who was given the
painting by Jimmy Linn, her friend in OKC). The painting shows the
deep red twilights we have had for the last year here in New Mexico.
When the calamity of the eruption of Pinatubo occurred, our press and
television were full of it for many days after the 15th of June, 1991,
disaster and the ensuing destruction. For about five days we saw no
indication of it in the air here [in Albuquerque], then one night,
after the sun had set, I saw a small slip of red glowing on the
horizon far to the south. It was the summer solstice, and at our
latitude the sky glowed a peacock-blue long after sunset. As each day
passed and the sun set, we saw larger, discreet patches of red glowing
farther north after sunset. After three weeks, the entire horizon
glowed in uneven, rough, rather blotchy areas of dust high in the
sunlight. Then as several months passed, the dust continued to mix
until, by September, we were having long twilights of the most
dramatic, deep red on the horizon, shading upward into crimson and
finally a deep, rich purple. Everyone took a moment after sundown to
look at the deep red and purple sky to the west and watch as the
darkness deepened the band of bright red that lingered lower and lower
until it glowed a band of red fire on the western horizon while the
ground was black and the sky full of stars. We do not have those
sunsets now (July, 1992). I imagine you are grateful. As for me, I
graduated from West Point in 1945. I flew from an airstrip at
Floridablanca, south of Clark Field. In 1946, I had the honor of
talking daily to your first president, Manuel Roxas, when we were
searching for a Philippine C-47 that had gone down on Mindanao. Like
many others, I have left a part of my heart and affection in your
beautiful country.

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