Brian McMinn

Brian and Diana, or
the Torrente de Pareis.

Transcriptions of a conversation about a painting, recorded exactly three years ago.

Patrick: This painting is by an Irish guy named Brian McMinn. Actually, you could start anywhere with that one.

Let’s see… He lived about 20 years with a good friend named Diana, Diana Pilacci.

JP: I remember Diana.

Patrick: When he died, the studio which was above the house where they worked together, had hundreds of his paintings. She couldn’t go in there and work because it disturbed her. She didn’t know what to do about the paintings. He had a daughter by a previous woman and the daughter didn’t want all those paintings. What was she going to do with them, living in London?

So I called a friend of mine who had a gallery in Palma. We used to…. Stephanie and I used to go to his house in the middle of the island for his birthday every year with our group, and play baroque music for him. We were good friends with this guy who had the gallery.

I called him and asked what can we do with Brian’s paintings? We agreed to meet in Soller with Diana and a friend of Juan who had the gallery. It turns out that they had just established an association to protect the paintings of people who died on the island and didn’t have heirs or whatever. So Brian’s paintings they thought might be acceptable to go and become one of the first big collections in this building in Palma.

They were going to make a catalog of his work, present the works, and then protect the works in this place they had in Palma. Then they could lend the works to institutions who wanted to have shows or wanted to have paintings from this painter on the walls, but they could never sell the paintings. But Diana or Brian’s daughter could always take the paintings back if the wanted.

So they they came to the house they looked through his paintings and decided yes, this would be a good way to get started with this association, and they took away the paintings and then there was some kind of mixup with the building in which they had this association, which is a protected building, as they say. So the catalog was never made, and Diana kept asking me what happened with the paintings and so on. I never really found out. They were keeping the paintings there, but we were not sure if they were protected against damp and really protected.

Then, before we ever got this whole thing straightened out, Diana died. So I still don’t know. But because I helped her meet this guy and get the paintings out of the studio and down to Palma, she said I could choose one and I chose this one. So I’ve lived with that since… 15 or 20 years?

JP: It was after Stephanie died?

Patrick: Yes, after.

JP: So it was 12 years

Patrick: At least.

JP: She died in 2005?

Patrick: Yeah, yeah. I can’t remember when Diana died. It was three or four years ago. She had low blood pressure and she often would pass out. This time she passed out and bumped her head. They took to the hospital in Palma, a neighbor did. They operated on her and put a stint and she came out of the operation just as I telephoned. I telephoned to see how she was doing and her brother picked up the phone and said “You’re one minute too late, she just died.” So that begins another story about the brother. [I have not yet transcribed that one.]

This is a second recording on the same topic.

Patrick: First, stand back and take a look at that painting. [Pointing to the mountain on the right] Diana, and the one on the left is Brian. Nobody else has ever seen that but right away you caught it.

JP: I caught the two lovers.

Patrick: I think that consciously or unconsciously or unconsciously he did that.

JP: What did he call this painting?

Patrick: Don’t know. It seems to be a painting of … what’s the name of that famous place on Mallorca? You take a boat from Soller and you go around and you arrive at this point with a very narrow canyon and you can go up that canyon all the way to the top of the mountain and the Lluc monastery, or you can come down.

Patrick: A lot of people… you can get caught in a rainstorm and that thing becomes a river. A lot of people have been trapped and stuck on the rock with water rushing all around. A helicopter comes and you have to pay 200,000 pesetas to be saved. Anyway….

Listen to the first recording
Listen to the second recording