Interest Spikes... In Greenspan Art

There's unusually high interest — in the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason has the story of an artist who specializes in an unusual subject.

At the Broome Street Gallery in New York this week, they unpacked an exhibition of portraits. If the faces look familiar, it's because every one is Alan Greenspan.

Like most of us, 25-year-old Erin Crowe has never met the Fed chairman.

The arts student first painted Greenspan when a Virginia arts festival asked for pictures with a money theme. People's reactions stunned her.

"They would take pictures in front of the paintings. They would laugh in front of them and talk to them and I thought to myself, 'This is a great subject, I need to continue this,'" Erin says.

So Erin kept painting that inscrutable face — the pensive Greenspan, the perplexed Greenspan...

"I call this one 'Doh,' like Homer Simpson," Erin says of one portrait.

Erin has done more than fifty portraits so far.

"I had a lot of people try to pose interventions and say that I should stop and I needed to move on. And I refused," she says.

For 18 years, those often weary-looking eyes have kept watch over the economy. Wall Street studied that face for economic signals. But now Erin Crowe may know it better than anyone.

"The creases, the wrinkles, the dimples. It's almost like painting a landscape," she says.

She says there is something iconic about Greenspan. "I think throughout history it's been the role of an artist to capture icons in popular culture," Erin says.

Her first show last summer sold out. Michael Murphy bought one to put on the wall behind his desk at Olympia Asset Management. Murphy says now he has Greenspan over his shoulder.

"I look at him every now and then and see if he has any advice for me," Murphy says.

Erin says she was just trying to make some money for graduate school.

She says she thinks Greenspan would appreciate that. "I think he would," she says. "I hope so."

At last Erin Crowe says she's ready to move on to other subjects. Her show is called "Goodbye Greenspan." It's her farewell to the chairman as he says farewell to the Fed.
  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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