Carl Ahrens (1862-1936)

The Midnight Express

The painting hung in the dining room of the Roycroft Inn for many years, at least into the late 1930's. One of Carl's granddaughters has seen this painting in person. She described the painting as follows: "As you looked at it you became aware of a steam engine hurtling at you out of the dark, but the canvas was almost totally filled with the hypnotizing light from the train's headlight." When she later returned to Roycroft with her daughter the painting had disappeared. The Roycroft Inn has changed hands quite a few times, and maybe someone along the way kept the painting.

 Robert Ahrens told his daughter that when Carl painted this picture he became so engrossed in his work that he would not hear oncoming trains, and had to be physically removed from the tracks.

This painting is mentioned by name in my upcoming novel.