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Alfred's Dirty Secret

Sean Pyles | April 30, 2014 | Lifestyle Story Culture

Alone and transfixed, a butler gazes eternally at a lipstick-marked crystal goblet.

Sound like a still from Downton Abbey? It’s actually a description of the late painter Mark Stock’s The Butler’s in Love—Absinthe, a painting that’s been hanging in the FiDi restaurant Bix for 25 years.

Now it’s the inspiration for Lives of Butlers, a new exhibition at Modernism Gallery. Stock captures moments laden with subtext—a ballerina and a clown embracing backstage, or a white-gloved hand picking a keyhole. The scandal behind each scene is left to your imagination. May 1–June 21,

Originally published in the May Issue of San Francisco.

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