Art history mystery: Who is this ‘bronze beauty’?

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:
An art collector is trying to find the identity of this bust. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Putting a face to the missing name.

An elaborate bust of a woman was made by an artist who created sculptures of prominent people but researchers can’t figure out who the sculpture is of.

Kathleen Brennan’s home is an art gallery of sorts.

It’s filled with paintings and sculptures, each with its own story.

“You find a piece. You want to know about it. You can typically find the answer if you look hard enough,” Brennan said.

And look hard, she has, but the identity of one of her pieces has stumped Brennan.

The sculpture in question was found 10 years ago, back in the day when she owned a recycling company. The bronze beauty was headed for the melting pot when Brennan decided to save it.

“There’s gotta be a history here somewhere,” Brennan said. “It’s just a mystery that I cannot, I can’t let go of. I have to find the answer to it.”

She researched, called around and even posted on sites like Nextdoor and Facebook.

“I have many people that are looking for me and trying to help me solve this mystery,” Brennan said.

The clues are few. The best one is the fact the sculptor signed the piece. Catherine Barjansky, dated 1963 in New York.

Barjansky sculpted famous people like Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud but an art expert, Terry Tincher said she also left a lot of her sculptures unnamed.

“From the early to mid-50s she did a lot of female heads and female busts. None of them are titled,” said Tincher, also an art appraiser. “The timing for the hair and the bust, I mean, they are clearly neoclassical works in style. She was definitely looking back in time when she was doing these heads in the 50s.”

Whoever she is and whenever she lived Brennan believes what was almost trash could be someone’s treasure.

“The way I see it is this is probably valuable to someone, even the family of this person,” Brennan said.

She said she won’t stop until she solves the art history mystery.

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