Many of MOBA's works generate extensive discourse from visitors. Lucy in the Field with Flowers (oil on canvas by Unknown; acquired from trash in Boston) remains a favorite with the news media and patrons. As the first work acquired by the museum, Lucy is "a painting so powerful it commands its own preservation for posterity", setting a standard by which all future acquisitions would be compared, and causing MOBA's founders to question if Scott Wilson found Lucy or she found him.
Kate Swoger of The Montreal Gazette called Lucy a "gorgeous mistake", describing her thus: "an elderly woman dancing in a lush spring field, sagging breasts flopping willy-nilly, as she inexplicably seems to hold a red chair to her behind with one hand and a clutch of daisies in the other". Author Cash Peters, using less florid language, summarized it as "the old woman with an armchair glued to her ass".
MOBA's statement about Lucy reads: "The motion, the chair, the sway of her breast, the subtle hues of the sky, the expression on her face—every detail combines to create this transcendent and compelling portrait, every detail cries out 'masterpiece'." The Times recounted comments left by a museum visitor regarding the "endless layers of mysteries" the image offers: "What is Norman Mailer's head doing on an innocent grandma's body, and are those crows or F-16s skimming the hills?"
Lucy's granddaughter, a Boston-area nurse named Susan Lawlor, became a fan of MOBA after seeing the portrait in a newspaper. She recognized it as her grandmother, Anna Lally Keane (c. 1890–1968); upon seeing the picture, Lawlor snorted Coca-Cola from her nose in astonishment. The painting was commissioned by her mother, and it hung in her aunt's house for many years, despite the trepidation family members felt at seeing the final composition. Says Lawlor: "The face is hauntingly hers, but everything else is so horribly wrong. It looks like she only has one breast. I'm not sure what happened to her arms and legs, and I don't know where all the flowers and yellow sky came from."
For full story see: http://www.museumofbadart.org/coll1/image01.php