The Washington Post

Kevorkian’s macabre paintings caught in auction dispute

Jack Kevorkian talks to members of the news media about his new painting titled “Genocide” at the opening of his show at Ariana Gallery in Royal Oak, Mich. Kevorkian used some of his own blood to paint the frame red. (Linda Radin/AP)

The museum is refusing to surrender 17 paintings and other artwork by Kevorkian — including a painting that incorporates a pint of his own blood — saying he donated the art and his estate has no right to claim them nearly 12 years later. Kevorkian is of Armenian descent, and loaned the paintings and other items to the museum during his prison term. The paintings are valued between $2.5 million to $3.5 million, museum spokesman Roger Neal said Wednesday.

Artwork created by Jack Kevorkian is displayed as part of the exhibit "The Doctor is In: The Art of Dr. Jack Kevorkian," at the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, Mass. (Lisa Poole/AP)

The painting above, titled “Nearer My God to Thee,” directly addresses Kevorkian’s feelings about death and the afterlife:

Most of us will do anything to thwart the inevitable victory of biological death. We contemplate and face it with great apprehension, profound fear, and terror. Sparing no financial or physical sacrifice, pleading wantonly and unashamedly, clutching any hope of salvation through medicine or prayer. How forbidding that dark abyss!

Other paintings by Kevorkian depict Easter Bunnies holding the lifeless head of Jesus Christ, a man’s head on a dinner platter, and Santa Claus’s boot crushing the baby Jesus in a fireplace. The auction is scheduled for Oct. 28, and will benefit a children’s cancer charity. Some of Kevorkian’s other effects, such as his “death machine” and a bulletproof vest, are scheduled to be auctioned with the paintings.

In a Jan. 10, 1997, file photo, retired pathologist Jack Kevorkian smiles in his attorney's Southfield, Mich., office while showing off his latest painting. (Jeff Kowalsky/AP)

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts.


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