The Banker

Oil on canvas, circa 2008
6 X 9 ft.

The banker is tall, bony, pallid – a long-faced man eating a bowl of soup. He sits at a wooden table with a wooden bowl and a wooden spoon. As in many of Schrieber’s paintings, the light comes from an unidentified source— too bright to for a candle, too dim to be the noonday sun.

The subject wears a tank top and suspenders. Schrieber’s working title was The Usher After Work, yet we know from his journal the portrait was commissioned by a banker. Apparently, the painting was never delivered due to a disagreement over price.

A program for a wedding and all the religious accouterments nearby – the Cross, Rosary and so on – suggest the connection to the subject’s duties. There is also a wicker basket with a long handle for collecting tithes at Mass, and stacks of dollars in front of him.

One wants to say that he looks sad and lonely, but there is no evidence of that. All we can say for sure is that he is old and sipping on soup.