Is Rose Cooper A Real Artist? Why Is Her Painting So Important?

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Only Murders In The Building season 2 episode 1 & 2.

One of the most integral clues to Only Murders In The Building season 2 is a painting of Charles’ father, but is Rose Cooper a real artist? The murder of Bunny in the Only Murders In The Building season 1 ending is the inciting event for the second season of the critically acclaimed show, and much of the two episode premiere centers around a missing clue that may hold even more secrets. While Charles, Mabel, and Oliver are snooping around Bunny’s apartment for clues, Uma and Howard show up looking for an expensive erotic painting by the artist Rose Cooper. Unfortunately for them, the painting is missing, but not for long. It quickly appears in Charles’ apartment, making it clear that the Only Murders trio is being framed for Bunny’s death. When they try to bring it up to Bunny’s apartment, though, they are forced to leave it in an alleyway.

Unfortunately for Charles, Mabel, and Oliver, Uma and Howard aren’t the only ones looking for the painting. Leonora Folger (Bunny’s mother) is looking for it, too, and when it appears in The Arconia penthouse apartment (currently occupied by Amy Schumer), she rushes to get it and quickly spots that it’s a fake. Leonora is familiar with the original artist, Rose Cooper – almost as familiar as she is with its subject: Charles’ father. Both the artist Rose Cooper and Leonora had affairs with Charles’ father (depicted in the erotic painting) and while Leonora is clearly a fictional character, is Rose Cooper a real artist?

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The answer is complicated. While Rose Cooper is a real artist (according to Fine Art America, where her work can be seen), it’s unclear if Only Murders in the Building season 2 is referencing her specifically. It mostly seems like a coincidence considering the contents of the painting depicted in the show compared to the real Rose Cooper’s art. The Rose Cooper painting in Only Murders in the Building season 2 depicts an intimate moment between Charles’ father and another woman, whereas the real Rose Cooper’s art doesn’t cover this kind of subject matter. Still, the Rose Cooper painting in the series is a key clue in the investigation.

It’s clear from the first two episodes that Only Murders season 2 is diving into the history of The Arconia. From Charles, Mabel, and Oliver’s discovery of a secret elevator in Bunny’s apartment (and the use of flashbacks) to Charles’ father’s secret life inside the building (and Rose Cooper living across the street from The Arconia), the painting is an integral part of that history. Although Leonora leaves The Arconia at the end of episode 2, it seems almost certain that audiences haven’t seen the last of her. After all, she still needs to find the real painting.

She’s not the only one looking for it, though. One of the key motives (or misdirects) of the Only Murders In The Building unanswered mystery is the Rose Cooper painting. It’s unclear if Bunny made the forgery or if the real killer did. What is clear, though, is that the painting is being used to frame Charles, Mabel, and Oliver. The forged painting appears in Charles’ apartment and a note to Bunny reading “Bunny Folger I want that painting” also indicates its importance. Regardless of whether or not the painting holds the key to the identity of the killer, it’s clear that it’s important to the overall plot of Only Murders In The Building season 2 and, once it turns up, it could provide some much-needed answers.

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Author: Graeme Guttmann