Who Is Murphy??
|The little boy can be found in almost every Dick LaBonte painting, his
red hair and noseless, impish face peering from behind a beach towel or
the folds of a woman's Victorian gown. A mystique has grown around him;
rumors claim he is the artist's long-lost son, or the artist himself as a
Dick LaBonte has heard all of them. The well-known Bay Head artist included the Murphy Kid in the first of his renowned Victorian folk paintings, placing him on a trolley car by Bay Head's Episcopal Church.
"The reason I put him in had to do with perspective and
size," he says. "Then I put him into a painting of the Bay Head
train station, up by the funnel of the locomotive. He's just a little
mascot." He brushes aside any personal associations with the boy and
points out that other painters often include signature characters in their