At the beginning of The Shining, when Jack calls Wendy to tell her he got the job as winter caretaker of the Overlook, she sits in front of a painting of a woman holding a dog. The painting is titled “Woman and Terrier” (1963) by Canadian artist Alex Colville.
Colville’s paintings are often described as having a subtly unsettling quality, which is perhaps why Kubrick chose to feature them in The Shining.
Colville died in 2013 at the age of 92. After his passing, his son, Graham, remarked:
“I must say, I (felt) slight surprise when I saw Stanley Kubrick’s film The Shining and I suddenly realized my father’s paintings were in the background in numerous scenes. They were implanted in that film as almost subliminal messages.“
Another of Colville’s paintings can be seen in the same Boulder apartment, and yet another can be seen at the Overlook, near the end of the film. A fourth hangs in Room 237.
I thought about this searing, beautiful picture today in light of recent events in the United States. I, like many others, shared it a few years ago on my blog, but it was only today that I finally found the name of the man in the photograph! His name is Cecil Williams and, he happens to be a photographer himself. The photo was probably taken by Mr. Williams mentor, John Goodwin, who joined him for a talk at Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina in September 2013 about their experiences as black photographers in South Carolina during Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era. Mr. Williams, an Orangeburg, South Carolina native was a correspondent for Jet Magazine when he was only 15 and made national news after shooting some crucial pictures after the 1968 Orangeburg Massacre. This picture of Mr. Williams currently hangs over the water fountain on the Garden level of the Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina.