“The Purple Painting” By Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin’s signature on the painting

The frame

Two Ladies Playing Bridge, a.k.a. The Purple Painting by Janis Joplin

I was 9 or 10 years old when my Mother got the painting and 13 when my Mother died.  I don’t remember who told me that the name of it is “Two Ladies Playing Bridge…or was it “Two Naked Ladies Playing  Bridge”?!!  I’ve called it both over the years.

In 2010 & 2011, Janis’ sister, Laura, got it hung in The Grammy Museum (Los Angeles) & The Bethel Woods Center (Woodstock) as part of an exhibit called “The Art and Artifacts of the Icons Who Defined a Generation” organized by The Grammy Museum.

The painting is oils or acrylic on the textured side of a 33 ¾” x 59 ¾ “ x ⅛” piece of hardwood (Masonite) panel, currently in a black ¾” floating frame.

Commissioned by my Mother, Ruth Hall, in Pt. Arthur, TX and painted either in Pt. Arthur or in Janis’ art class at Lamar Tech in Beaumont, TX in 1965 or ’66.  

Upcoming Event: The Purple Painting by Janis Joplin, Unveiling

Friday, June 7, from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm at the Museum of the Gulf Coast

Join us in celebrating the unveiling of a spectacular reproduction of “The Purple Painting” by Janis Joplin, a gift of former Port Arthur resident Rebecca Wood (Becky Hall). The reproduction itself is large and impressive at 5 x 3 feet, and is nearly indistinguishable from the original. The painting will have a permanent home in the Janis Joplin exhibit at the Museum of the Gulf Coast in Port Arthur.

The History Behind The Painting

Janis Joplin grew up in Pt. Arthur, TX. So did my Mother, my siblings and I. Janis graduated from the same high school as all of us in 1960. She left, but came back in 1965 and stayed until 1966. Then she left for San Francisco and fame. Janis and my mother became friends when Janis was in high school. When Janis came back to Pt. Arthur from San Frisco in 1965, my mom and Janis carpooled together to Lamar Tech in Beaumont, about 15-20 miles from Pt. Arthur. One of Janis’ best friends, Karleen Bennett, told me she, Janis and other friends used to come over for visits. Karleen’s brother, Herman, told me last year that my Mother was a “safe haven, beacon of light & wonderful friend” to a group of younger folks that were labeled as “black sheep, bohemians or beatniks.” Pt. Arthur was a big sports town and Janis, like my Mother and their “tribe”, weren’t into sports, but music, dance and art. They were a fun-loving group of creative and free-thinking intellectuals that came over and talked for hours. I don’t remember Janis specifically, but I LOVED sitting around with these guys. I was a “hippie-in-training!” Who knew?!!

On one of Karleen and Janis’ visits, Janis was talking about needing some money, so my Mother told her she would buy one of her paintings. Since Janis was taking an art class at Lamar Tech, I figure that is where she painted it. This happened 54 years ago and since Janis and my Mother died in 1970, some things are just not known. Holly George-Warren, author of “Janis: Her Life and Music”, told me Janis’ favorite color was purple. So was my Mother’s. The painting is is in various shades of purple. Hence, the nickname “The Purple Painting.”

I graduated from high school in 1974 and moved to Austin, TX. I didn’t take the painting then but came back a few months later and took it on the first leg of it’s long journey. I moved and moved and got married to a corporate guy and moved some more. And got divorced and moved some more! That painting has been a part of my life since I was a little girl.

Janis is known around the world as “The Queen of Rock & Roll, Pearl, a musical legend, an icon…”, but she was first an artist and poet. I am beyond amazed that “little ‘ole me” has a history as rich and fascinating as I do.

Janis Joplin Remembered After Her Death - Rolling StoneJanis Joplin

As I was researching all of this last year, Holly George-Warren suggested this painting was bringing people together and healing many. Indeed it is. Thank you for allowing me to share this and reading a “little piece of my heart.”

Proof of Authenticity & Thank You’s!!!

This journey into my childhood to learn about “The Purple Painting” & the provenance I discovered has been a highlight of my life. Reconnecting w/ Herman & Karleen Bennett, whose affidavits are below, has changed the way I thought about my Mother in such a rewarding & wonderful way. I love them both very much…and they loved my Mom, Janis & me. They still do.

View Affidavits

I never had one iota of doubt that Janis painted this painting & here are some documents & emails that will confirm the same for anyone. I got some fantastic help, advice & a new friend in Frank Born, also from Pt. Arthur, currently an awesome artist in NY. (frankborn.com) He provided me with an expert art attorney’s explanation of a Certificate of Authenticity.

The attorney, who specializes in art, said that in the United States, the only time a Certificate of Authenticity is issued is when it comes from the artist. Since Janis did not do that @ age 23, I have done my homework & compiled an overwhelming body of evidence proving Janis Joplin is indeed the artist of “The Purple Painting” And had an incredible experience of love & support along the way!

Robin Green, Registrar/Assistant to Senior Curator @ The Museum at Bethel Woods, where Janis’ sister Laura Joplin, was instrumental in getting “The Purple Painting” hung in 2011, has been invaluable & always super nice. To view the documentation she provided proving this is click here.

What great things can I tell you about Holly George-Warren, two-time Grammy nominee and award-winning author of sixteen books, including the latest book of Janis called “Janis: Her Life and Music”?!! Below, see photos of the front & back cover of that book & a photo of p. 57 in the paperback edition where she mentions my Mom, Ruth Hall, and the commission of “The Purple Painting.” She has been beyond kind & supportive to me & I am very grateful for her assistance. Thanks Holly!

Jeff Jampol, owner/founder of wemanagelegends.com & manager of Janis Joplin’s estate, was instrumental in getting some of the photographs of Janis to me that you see on this website.

To Michael & Laura Joplin, thank you for being you. Although we did not communicate much, I totally understand & am grateful for the emails we exchanged. Below are a couple, one from Laura to Herman in 2010, confirming that Janis indeed was the artist of “The Purple Painting.” The fact that Laura was the one that orchestrated the painting being hung in The Grammy Museum as part of the 2010 “Strange Kozmic Experience: The Doors, Janis Joplin & Jimi Hendrix” is enough proof right there! The other one from Michael, Janis’ brother, telling of his knowledge of the painting & the story behind it’s creation.

To my dear childhood friend, Bob Fuller, whose insights, ideas & “hand-holding” while digging into all this & well, my goodness, can’t be explained really. It’s something that must be felt. And boy did we! Thanks Bob!

My fantastic webmaster, Damien Sterling, took a few pics & words I sent him & look what his genius created! So grateful to have found you. sterlingwebmarketing.com

Almost last, but certainly not least…Janis Joplin, the Queen of Queens & my Mom, Ruth Hall. None of this “lovefest” would have happened without y’all. Love, love, love that y’all showed up for me & whoever is touched by this story to see you this way!!!

Ok, finally…yes, all the above, but God did all this & for all that has happened in the JJ saga, I am eternally grateful you entrusted ‘lil ole’ me with it.

~ Contact ~

info@janisjoplinpainting.com    1-800-587-2083