(Los Angeles): 1949. Tempera on cardstock paper, approx. 10 X 14 in. Wear to edges; some flaking of the surface. Item #205718
Nighttime cityscape depicting images of Los Angeles, with the central image of a streetcar filled with passengers and all around lighted signs (Bond Pants, Follies, Tivoli Theatre, Beer, Parking, Wine, Ice) a lamppost, a telephone booth, and a leafy tree. Signed "R. Bradbury - July, 1949" at the bottom. In a 2009 interview with the LA Times, Bradbury recalled his early exposure to art and stated that "painting has been part of my life since I was a child . . . My artwork doesn't inspire my writing, it's my writing that inspires my artwork." The streetcar figures in some of Bradbury's stories, including "The Trolley" in the collection Dandelion Wine. Given the date, however, it is conceivable that this image may have been inspired by a 1947 story Bradbury published in the New Yorker, in which a Mexican immigrant is forced to leave his adopted home of Los Angeles: "On many nights he had walked the silent streets and seen the bright clothes in the windows and bought some of them, and he had seen the jewels and bought some of them for his few lady friends. And he had gone to picture shows five nights a week for a while. Then, also, he had ridden the streetcars—all night some nights—smelling the electricity, his dark eyes moving over the advertisements, feeling the wheels rumble under him, watching the little sleeping houses and big hotels slip by." (Provenance: the estate of LA musician, composer, and longtime UCLA faculty member Theodore Norman, who was given the painting by Bradbury).