L es P ommes 1988 Oil on panel 10 x 13 inches This gem of a painting reminds me of the wonderful Dutch Still Life paintings from the 17th century. The clarity and color of the pieces of fruit and their reflections on the polished surface make up this elegantly sparse composition. An aura of beauty and stillness is created in this picture. The artist has masterfully balanced the grouping of the red and green apples and the yellow lemon with
two reflections on one side of the center of the composition with one green pear shown in perspective and its reflection. Perhaps it is the point of the pear receding into depth that enables the one piece of fruit to harmoniously counterbalance the three-piece group. The wholesomeness of the fruit and the richness of their colors represent the fullness and ripeness of life to me.
C alifornia F ruit 1901 Oil on canvas 10 x 14 inches I acquired this wonderful still life painting at an antique fair in Wisconsin. I do not know about the provenance of this painting, but I consider it to be the companion piece to the Kaminski “Les Pommes” in my collection. The composition of “California Fruits” is classical in the sense that the grouping of cherries, plums and peaches is centrally located on the canvas. The fruits are situated comfortably on a table and the space of the picture is clearly understood around the fruit grouping. The brushwork in the painting is freer than in the Kaminski piece; Stierngranat lets you see the
white brushstrokes that create the highlight on the plums and there is a white dab of paint that creates the highlight on the red cherries. The style of painting that enables the viewer to see the texture and movement of the brushwork in the finished piece is called “painterly.” The outlines of the plums, cherries and peaches are not sharply and clearly delineated, but rather they are suggested by the brushstrokes; this is another element of the painterly style. The warm light that bathes the rich purples, yellows, browns and reds adds to the pleasant feeling of the painting.
R ealm O f I ron : A J ourneyer ’ s R endezvous 1998 Oil on masonite 12 x 16 inches Robert Brawley is an American painter who is amazing at rendering realistic textures and exact detail; the faded worn tarot card, the sepia-toned photograph of sumo wrestlers and the crushed aluminum Coca-Cola can are all expertly depicted. Brawley’s technique was perfected by studying the masters of Flemish painting from the 15th century such as Jan Van Eyck and Robert Campin. The title of this painting is enigmatic. The array of objects that are depicted is diverse ranging from the Italian Tarot card
of The Fool to the articles of debris such as the dirty smashed pack of Camels cigarettes and the compressed Coke can. Brawley’s imagery encompasses references to Art History, natural forces, spiritual philosophies, psychological studies and pieces of junk discarded by human society. Brawley arranges his objects in a severely symmetrical composition in a shallow space in order to clearly elucidate each individual item. The artist is creating a personal and mysterious myth that engages and entrances the viewer.
T he F all O f T he D ark A ngel 1999 Oil on panel 23 x 16 inches Robert Brawley is as good a painter as there is in my collection. His Flemish technique of realistically rendering objects and textures is superlative. In “The Fall Of The Dark Angel” the rocks, the white cloth held up by nails, the wall of stone background and the feathered wing protruding out of the rocks all illustrate his genius that enables him to render a form objectively. The color harmonies that the artist employs in this painting are exquisite with the many hues of gray, brown, blue and white that he blends with the purples in the centered photograph. The compo-
sition is balanced and symmetrical and the space is rather shallow as is typical in Brawley’s paintings. The small picture with the purple background that is taped to the white cloth shows a winged angel plummeting down out of control. Beautiful feathered wings are sticking out of the rocks in the foreground of “The Fall Of The Dark Angel” as if the result of the fall of the angel is the crashing and subsequent burial under these rocks. This is my feeling when I view this painting, but other viewers may react differently.
C erises E t A pricots c. 1995 Oil on canvas 12 x 16 inches Pierre Rasera known as Raser is a European artist whose work I acquired in Saint-Paul De Vence which is the charming completely walled city in southern France in the mountains near Nice. “Cherries And Apricots” is a meticulously painted still life replete with different textures such as the earthenware pitcher, the blue and white china sugar bowl, the metallic platter that holds the apricots, the wood shelf, the copper pitcher and the textile draped over the left side of the shelf. Light is a key element in this painting as it comes from the left and highlights the vessels, fruit, tapestry and back wall. The color palette is another essential ingredient as the beautiful muted earth tones harmonize and occasionally smolder into flame as in the exquisitely painted section of the tapestry with its grays and reddish-
browns or in the apricots with the blend of yellows and reds. The reds of the cherries are masterfully set off against the white of their plate and the surrounding gray of the back wall. The atmosphere is quiet and contemplative. The fruit are ripe and wholesome, but there is a single detached leaf as well as an empty nutshell on the shelf; both of these images may be symbols of eventual decay and the passage of time. The painting contains three remarkable elements. There is a trompe-l’oeil fly on the wall at the shadow line slightly to the left of the center of the composition. The artist’s signature is on a crumpled trompe-l’oeil piece of paper that is tacked onto the right side of the shelf. Finally, a self-portrait of the artist painting this picture can be seen in the reflection on the copper pitcher.
S arabande c. 1995 Oil on canvas 15 x 18 inches “Sarabande”, in my opinion, is Raser ’s masterpiece. The painting derives its name from the title on the bottom page of the two sheets of music. The subject matter of the painting is musical instruments and music itself; music being an art form makes me wonder if Raser is thinking about art-more specifically his art of painting- as the subject of “Sarabande.” His performance as a painter is spectacular; he uses light not only to illuminate and reveal the forms, but also to create shadowed areas and drama in the scene. The objects are thrust into the foreground and the neck of the violin, the top sheet of music and even the ledge of the shelf break
the picture plane and enter into the viewer ’s space; this creates a sense of immediacy between the viewer and the objects in the picture. The viewer feels as if he is sharing the same space with the objects. The composition feels well balanced, but this is achieved with a complex arrangement of instruments pointing in diverse directions and an equally interesting balancing of shapes such as the round horn on the right played off against the roundness of the lute on the left. Color plays an important part in this balance as the brighter metallic silver and gold on the right counterbalance the heavier darker colors of the accordion and lute on the left.
W aiting F or S uggestions c. 1995 Oil on canvas 20 x 14 inches Rafal Olbinski was born and educated in Poland, but he emigrated to the United States in 1982, where he has become a successful painter and a prominent illustrator and teacher. Olbinski is a Surrealist whose images remind me of the work of Rene Magritte because of their cleverness and relative simplicity. In â€œWaiting For Suggestionsâ€? for example, the central image is clearly understandable. Seven people are standing on one side of a seesaw and a lighthouse is on the other end. The jarring element in the narrative is that the lighthouse structure is up in the air
seemingly weighing less than the seven human beings. Also, the viewer realizes that there is no flat place for the lighthouse to rest upon if the seesaw did shift its balance of weight. The title adds to the mystery of the painting with the various possibilities of its interpretations. I enjoy the intense blue colors in the sky of this painting and the orange that is played off against it. I enjoy looking at the landscape with the sea that recedes into the far background and the bright white stars that glow in the vast sky.
P ainting W ith L imborghini 1995 Oil on canvas 39 x 31 inches The logo of the Limborghini is the bull that can be seen on the marble pedestal under the central cluster of columns; this bull is composed of the same color as the clouds behind it. The black and rust colored marble encrusted car is positioned on top of pieces of fluted marble columns and between the Nike of Samothrace from Greek Antiquity and a procession of medieval knights in armor riding into the scene on horseback. The setting for this drama is the beautiful Romanesque church of Saint Julien Brioude in the Auverne region of France. The architectural details of the church are spacious and colorful as it dominates
the top portion of the composition and serves as a counterpoint to the darker colors and denser arrangement of forms in the lower half of the painting. Past, Present and Future intermingle in Vilbouxâ€?s works like this one; the black and white checkered flag draped on the Limborghiniâ€™s windshield refers both to the pennants that the knights are carrying and to the checkered flag used in contemporary motor racing. The juxtaposition of images from different time periods as well as the spatial ambiguities imbue this painting with surrealistic overtones and mystery.
R ed D rape 1995 Oil on canvas 20 x 30 inches
David Hines is an American artist who has created a masterpiece with “Red Drape”. Is the subject of the painting light that comes in as a realistically consistent source from the right side and illuminates, reveals and then creates drama and melodrama with its shadowed areas? The act of painting itself, represented by the simple composition of a red fabric draped over a wooden table handled so elegantly with such intricate details and patterns of folds, could perhaps be the subject of this piece. The Flemish technique of painting is in evidence in “Red Drape” with the clear delineation of the outlines of the table and the drape and with the classically balanced composition. The light on one side of the table balances the shadows
on the opposite side. The straight line of the table leg on the illuminated side is balanced by the pronounced curvature of the drape on the darker side. The center of the composition contains the myriad of folds while the fabric is smoother on both sides. The brilliant intense red is spectacular as it undergoes the dramatic effects of light and shade in its setting against a black background. I continually ponder on whether “Red Drape” is completely fulfilling psychologically or whether the absence of human presence or even of a sense of temporal time and movement are disturbing elements.
Oil on masonite panel 1999 10 x 16 inches Robert Gniewek is an important Second Generation American Photorealist painter. Photorealism became popular in the 1970s in the United States. Louis K. Meisel, who has written three definitive volumes on Photorealism, defined the Photo-Realist artist in 1972. Meisel states that the artist uses the camera and photograph to gather information and that the artist uses mechanical or semimechanical means to transfer the information to the canvas. Meisel also states that the artist must have the technical ability to make the finished work capture the look and feel of precise color pho-
tographs. The Photorealists used meticulous rendering of popular images for their subject matter. Robert Gniewek’s “Redford” is part of his series focusing on the rich tradition of movie theaters in Detroit. Gniewek often combines various light sources to create his clear precise images. He uses natural light,the neon light of the marquee, the light bulbs of the theater and the automobile lights in “Redford”. Gniewek’s brushstrokes are very precise so the completed work can look photographic.
B lue P eriod M aster (A fter P icasso ) 1992 Oil on canvas 22 x 34 inches “Blue Period Master (After Picasso)” is one of the paintings in my collection that is extraordinary because all of the colors seem to be made of the same genetic substance. Ferjo’s “Rhinoceros” and Jeff Dodd’s “Kelli And Meagan” are the others. The blues, greens, grays and beiges in Wrege’s painting are almost homogenous as they smoothly harmonize and blend with one another. The title suggests that the artist is more concerned with the aesthetics of the
painting than he is with the specific subject matter of a blue Maserati. The composition is almost exactly symmetrical and is very well balanced with the vertical elements of the architecture behind the car serving as counterpoints to the horizontal elements of the car and on the car. The beautiful curved lines that compose the car seem to capture and absorb the severe vertical lines of the architecture.
Y ellow S take T ruck 1998 Oil on canvas 18 x 40 inches John Tully Geyer is an American artist who painted this antique toy from Ivan Karpâ€™s (the owner of O.K. Harris Art Gallery) personal collection. I enjoy the boldness of the image and the beautiful simplicity of the color palette of yellow, gray and a very special pinkishred shade. The worn patina of the toy truck takes on its own aes-
thetic splendor when it is blown up to this larger size and presented so grandly against the stark white background of the canvas. The figure is given monumentality by its placement in the foreground and because it occupies a large portion of the picture space. The shadow beneath the image adds to its palpability.
O range P assion c. 1987 Oil on canvas 38 x 30 inches Alain Vilboux painted three pieces with this theme. I was able to acquire two of them, but “Rouge Passion” was already gone. “Orange Passion” shows a very attractive curvaceous female who is wearing a short tightly clinging dress that is emphasizing her feminine attributes nicely. She has on gloves and dark stockings and she is positioned with her back to the picture plane. She twists around in space further emphasizing her shapeliness. She is placed well into the foreground of the pic-
ture creating a sense of immediacy with the viewer. Her image is given crisper focus because Vilboux paints the entire background with a hazy focus entirely in grays. The large American car and the fashionable couture of the woman bespeaks of luxuriousness. The orange (or yellow) traffic light means proceed with caution, and that is the artist’s message in this painting. The woman is holding a blue apple that conjures up comparisons with Eve and the Garden of Eden.
V ert P assion c. 1987 Oil on canvas 38 x 30 inches Green light means go! The female is thrust way into the foreground and across the picture plane into the viewer ’s space. She is frontally positioned and dressed in a short black leather miniskirt and a supple leather jacket that is suggestively opened to reveal cleavage. Her gloved hand is holding a blue apple that already has a bite taken out of it. Vilboux again uses an out of focus background in order to heighten the clarity of the female figure
in the front. I enjoy these paintings immensely. I hang “Vert Passion” and “Orange Passion” above the headboard of my bed and I see them frequently. Vilboux has created wonderful and sexy silhouettes on the female forms in these paintings. His message, partly serious and partly tongue-in-cheek, is constantly relevant. His almost monochromatic palette is refreshing and effective.
N oir E t R ouge 1995 Oil on canvas 33 x 28 inches I commissioned Alain Vilboux to paint this picture. I showed Alain the works of the Photorealist painter John Kacere who used the middle of women’s bodies often clad in sumptuous lingerie as his subject matter and I asked Alain to do a painting for me like that. He had already done the Vert-Orange-Rouge Passion series and I correctly assumed that he would do a terrific job with this commission. In “Noir Et Rouge”, Vilboux creates a sensual titillating image of a female garbed in sexy black stockings and a lacy garter belt and wearing a red negligee which is beautifully
depicted with an interesting pattern of folds and drapings. Alain Vilboux added his own creativity to the composition by portraying full frontal nudity in the figure. He has created a refined elegant and sexy image which is a pleasure to behold both for the subject matter and for the intricacies of the patterning of the red material, the texture of the lace and the stockings and the colors that he has chosen. This painting began a series that Alain Vilboux undertook with this subject matter.
B eaute N oire 1998 Oil on canvas 19 x 23 inches A couple of years after “Noir Et Rouge” I asked my friend Alain Vilboux to do a painting which would depict the back view of the girl. “Beaute Noir” is the result. The pose is alluring and the image is extremely sexy and suggestive. The black lingerie with the garters, seamed stockings and transparent panties are sensuous as
are the well-shaped fleshy thighs and buttocks. The color palette that Vilboux has chosen is an exquisite blend of black with silvers, grays, ivories, browns and flesh-tones. The intricate rendering of the sheets and the quilt with their folds and patterns add to the lovely sensuality of the painting.
T he W atcher W atched 2000 Acrylic on canvas 20 x 16 inches The two most striking elements of an Igor Tiul’panoff painting are the subject matter and the colors. “The Watcher Watched” is dominated by a brilliant red color against which the artist harmonizes and contrasts his other colors such as the greens, browns and yellow tones. Tiul’panoff ’s mastery of color enables him to modulate the shades of the red to create the ledge behind which the face appears and the spatial niche in the top portion of the painting that contains so much of the iconography of the painting including a bowl with caviars, a glass of champagne, peanuts and a beaded bracelet. The lower half of the composition depicts a lizard on an open
door peering at a woman’s face. The face has green eyes that are staring at the viewer from her location behind and outside of the red interior of the painting. The woman is watching the viewer, the lizard is watching the woman and the viewer is watching both of them. The ambiguity of the title allows various interpretations. There are three veristically painted insects that are traditional elements of still life paintings; insects often refer to decay and the passage of time. The trompe l’oeil green colored pencil, the open drawer filled with gray pearls and the transparent beaded curtains on the top corners of the painting are interesting images.
1998 Oil on canvas 39 x 28 inches This stunning still life “Ricordi” (“Memories”) was done by the Italian Photorealist Roberto Bernardi. This simply composed elegant painting has a flat dark black background against which a glass with three flowers and green leaves is shown. A melodramatic bright spotlight-like light source comes from the right side of the picture intensely illuminating the sprig of leaves on the right, the two white flowers, part of the pink flower, some of the stems and most of the water-filled glass vase. This light slashes across the canvas horizontally to reveal a strip of what presumably is a white
tablecloth upon which the still life stands. The painting reminds me of the great Italian Baroque artist Caravaggio who perfected the technique of tenebroso that employs a dramatic contrast of brightly lit and dark areas. The clarity of each object is also Caravaggesque in feeling. This single photograph-like image perhaps represents a whole series of memories or snapshots that are imprinted in the mind of the artist. The large size of the painting imbues the entire scene with importance and grandeur.
L es T richeurs (T he T ricksters ) c. 1995 Oil on canvas 18 x 22 inches Alain Vilboux’s clever sense of humor is evident in this still life painting “The Tricksters.” There is the trick of the visual pun of a glass apple on the left balanced on the right by a wine glass that is shaped like an apple. There is a bite taken out of the top of the apple/wine glass and a heart carved in it. The heart refers to the Queen of Hearts card that is shown. The Roi and Dame have had their royal costumes cut out of their cards and those robes can be seen lying on the ledge in the foreground of the painting. “The Tricksters” depicts a lit candle with its reflection show-
ing in an ornately framed mirror behind it. There is a natural light source coming from the left side of the painting; there is light coming both from the candle and from the reflection of the candle. The artist Alain Vilboux is revealing himself as the chief trickster as he plays with the viewer ’s perceptions. It is interesting to note that Vilboux has referenced all of the five senses in this painting. Elements pertaining to eating, drinking, music, art, and merry-making are prominently shown. “Les Tricheurs” is a celebration of life with its intellectual and carnal pleasures.
R eine D e C oeur (Q ueen O f H earts ) c. 1992 Oil on canvas 18 x 15 inches I took this painting off the wall in Alain Vilbouxâ€™s apartment, in the resort town of Menton, France, and bought it. I was entranced by the image of the Mona Lisa and the accoutrements that Alain added to it. The Mona Lisa is the central image in the picture, but the jester painting the Queen (Dame) of Hearts card while precariously standing on a house of cards has always represented the self-
image of the artist to me. There is a receding landscape behind the right shoulder of the Mona Lisa. This deep space is balanced on the other side by a matching landscape and the house of cards. Vilboux balances the red colors in the house of cards with the red rose that the Mona Lisa is holding. The tilted golden crown transforms her into a Queen.
U ntitled (P ainting W ith Y ellow O rb ) c. 1978 Acrylic on canvas 39 x 50 inches This is an early painting in the artistâ€™s oeuvre. The brushwork is evident and the fields of color are expansive as they break out of the picture into the surrounding space. Although this painting may lack the sophistication, polish and mastery of the later works, I fully enjoy the raw quality of the brushwork, the modulations of color, and the color fields floating in space. There are thinly painted areas to create the light shades and paint applied more thickly to create the dark tones in each
color. White can be seen beneath the colors in many places on the canvas. I especially like the use of the red line to separate the large color fields. This painting is filled with atmosphere and life. It has a natural energy in it, but also a quiet peacefulness. If it is primordial, I do not read it as threatening. It is interesting for me to mention that my son Dany, at eight years of age, selected this painting to hang prominently in his bedroom.
U ntitled (P ainting W ith B rowns ) c. 1980â€™s Acrylic on canvas 52 x 52 inches This large painting shows that Phyllis Gaughran has mastered the acrylic medium. The two main color fields are smoothly painted with subtle variances. The boundaries of the color fields seem to be contained within the picture frame. The feeling of landscape or natural order is easier to read into this painting, for those who are looking to do that. Stillness, mystery and serenity pervade this painting. Phyllisâ€™ connection to nature is the starting point for her creations and they resonate with their own unique order.
The titles of her paintings were often decided upon arbitrarily and they are not important. The evocation of feeling established with color, texture and composition is the main objective of the pieces. This untitled work has a dark brown color area and a larger lighter brown color field separated by washes of whites and other browns. Phyllisâ€™ often uses a dark shade and a light shade of a color as the key element of her composition.
1980s Acrylic on natsume 44 x 32 inches “Descent” is a masterpiece that incorporates the salient points of Phyllis Gaughran’s mature style. Composition is a key element in her work. This painting has a reddish field at the bottom and a brown field above it. A white shape seems to be floating down from the top to the bottom of the picture space. The artist balances her compositions which creates a sense of stability in the worlds that she conjures up. Texture is a most important element in Phyllis’ paintings. Natsume has become her favorite ground for her paintings. Natsume is a very absorbent highly textured paper from Japan. Natsume allows the artist to achieve infinite gradations of color tones with acrylic paint. Natsume paper has long silky filaments that remain visible after the paint is applied. These filaments lend texture and movement to the color fields and are an integral part of the essence of the painting. “Descent” displays the artist’s frequent use of collage to enhance her textures and to make her compositions.
The natsume paper is torn into various shapes and pieced over portions of the composition in order to create more interesting designs and textures. The central motif of the descending white form is a piece of torn natsume. The gold-tinged small pieces around the white shape are also torn collaged pieces of natsume. Color is another key component in Gaughran’s works. “Descent” uses the bright white shape as the center and it is highlighted both by its brightness and by the fiery metallic gold color that glows in close proximity. The brown color field acts as the setting and the foil for the white shape; the brown is the stratosphere through which the white shape moves. The reddish field serves as the base for the interplay above it. The reddish field also interacts with the whites and the large brown color zone. The infinite variations of tones and the diverse variety of colors that are interwoven into the color fields add vivacity and beauty to the painting.
U ntitled (P ainting W ith D ark G reens ) 2011 Acrylic on natsume 24 x 38 inches This painting can easily be placed in the collage category, but I am including it in this section because I have always thought of these colorful works to be paintings. Natsume has been torn and overlaid and then scratched to reveal glowing strips of oranges and burgundies coming up from beneath the multi-toned green color field. Reeds have been incorporated into the composition to add texture and to lend an organic feeling to this non-objective piece that seems to have its own sense of natural forces and order. Wepman in a press release concerning Phyllis Gaughran wrote: “Her sensitive control of material and original use of color produce a balanced display that is both visually stimulating and spiritually tranquilizing…. The overlaying of varied surfaces and colors create
dramatic compositions… The long gleaming filaments that remain visible in the paper lend movement and flow to the solid planes of color, movements further enhanced by bright highlights allowed to peep out at strategic points from behind dark masses.” I have always been enthralled by the beauty of the colors, textures and compositions of Phyllis’ works. Other viewers react more spiritually. I quote relevant words from a press release (author unknown) to illustrate this. Gaughran’s “works resonate the movement and matter of natural environment and inner life, illuminating diametrical forces of motion and stillness, light and shadow, clarity and mystery…. In the joining of earthiness and spirituality, one glimpses a promise of transformation and transcendence.”
T he E dge O f T own 1998 Oil on panel 24 x 24 inches I bought this painting by the American artist Bruce Ackerson from O.K. Harris Art Gallery in New York City. The subject matter is enigmatic and the paint is placed on the panel to create a heavily textured surface that reacts dramatically as the light source changes in the room where the painting is hung. Two dark-suited men have chased a third white-shirted man to a place where a paved sidewalk meets a sandy beach-like area. The man in the white shirt is presumably running away from the other two men and it seems as if he is going to try to jump upon an unsaddled horse that is standing there. Two women in short cocktail waitress-like uniforms complicate the narrative by being there.
The five figures cast long shadows giving the scene a film noir type of mysterious dramatic atmosphere. The viewer is way above the action; he has a bird’s eye view of the occurrence. Ackerson, in a written statement confessed that his “ …oil paintings typically have a sort of twisted humor where odd things happen or are about to happen….Lurking just below the surface in each picture is an anxious, sexual undertone.” He goes on to say that the narrative unfolds as in a dream. The texture of the paint in this work is extraordinary and the way that many colors are placed on the sidewalk area and set off against the beiges is very pleasing to the eye.
I mage B eautifier 2000 Acrylic on paper 54 x 40 inches Ben Matthews, an American artist from Pittsburgh, simulates an old advertising poster with its ripped parts and discoloration. The advertisement is for a strange item that comes from the imagination of the artist. The product being advertised is Lewis Wargo’s “Image Beautifier” which ( as the circle in the upper left corner shows) if you plunge into your eye will change your view of things. A gray flooded landscape with skeletons floating around is how the world is seen without the eye apparatus; however, the view changes to a beach with plenty of colorful beach balls, blue sea
and sky and presumably sunshine when the eye apparatus is used. (Curiously, there is a distinctive absence of human presence on the colorful side too.) All this for only $49.99 as the poster tells us. This particular painting appealed to me as an art historian because it reminded me of images of Heaven and Hell. I enjoy the colors used by Matthews. The reds, black and white create a beautiful passage on the top. The beach is lovely and the grisaille treatment of the “without” scene is nice. I enjoy the illusionistic devices that Matthews employs to simulate the old poster.
M etropolitan H otel c. 1997 Oil on metal 14 x 12 inches James Gucwa is an American painter who lives in the West. “Metropolitan Hotel” is painted on metal from an old water tank that Gucwa found in the desert. The blue sky in the background of the painting is the original paint on the water tank. The brown scratches in the sky are actually damages on the metal of the water tank. Gucwa creates a gem of a painting by realistically depicting the
neon sign of the hotel, the small portion of the brick wall of the hotel building and an old-fashioned ornate street lamp. The objects are placed in the very near foreground of the painting. They have an immediacy to the viewer and they have a monumentality even though the scale of the painting is very small. There is an Art Deco nostalgic feeling to “Metropolitan Hotel”.
V alley M otel c. 1992 Oil on canvas 36 x 36 inches Stambler, an American artist, depicts an illuminated neon sign in â€œValley Motel.â€? The background is dark in order to make the neon whites, yellows, greens, reds and pinks glow. The subject is iconic with the image of the Red Ryder cowboy, the reference to the motel culture and the American road trip and the
neon sign itself. The image of the sign fills the picture space and is positioned in the foreground. The illusion created by Stambler is that of a brightly colored neon sign that is displaying its message in the dark night.
S wan L ake 2000 Oil on panel 16 x 24 inches
Michael Arcieri is an American Realist. His painting “Swan Lake” is a visual pun. It depicts four origami paper swans on top of a book entitled “Lakes of the World.” The light source is consistent and is coming from the left side of the painting. The forms are clearly delineated and positioned logically in space. The brushwork is tight and concise and the textures of the different types of paper and the stiff table fabric are well rendered. The palette is elegantly simple with the dark blue book representing water as it separates and sets off the white of the tablecloth beneath it and the white of the swans above. This painting depicts six images - the four swans, the book and
the table linen, but contains many sweeping dialogues and provokes speculations. For example, the origami of the swans refers to Japan and the East, while the English words on the book refer to the West. The complicated folded hand-made origami forms contrast with the simple horizontal machine-made form of the book; the curves, points and irregular shapes of the swans are juxtaposed with the verticals and horizontals of the book and the tablecloth. The swans are painted images of sculptural origami figures which represent living creatures as they glide over the blue “water” of the book about lakes. Arcieri has introduced a complicated interplay of ideas with his images in “Swan Lake”.
B leu P omme (B lue A pple ) 1992 Oil on canvas 16 x 12 inches Alain Vilboux has fun with this painting by physically cutting a piece out of the white mat that frames the picture. The artist paints this white piece of frame on the rear pocket of the figure within the picture; the inference is that the piece of frame has fallen into the picture. This is another example of Vilboux’s sense of playfulness. This trick or illusion may be the subject of the painting. The artist performs artistic trickery and illusionism in “Bleu Pomme.” The small portion of the jean-clad figure that is shown is clearly delineated. A wrinkled and torn canvas that is partially held together by cellophane tape and a wood stretcher for the canvas are depicted behind the figure. These background objects (which allude to art, illusion and painting) are painted in a fuzzy fashion in
order to sharpen the focus on the figure and the apple and cherry in the front. The palette used in this painting sets up a beautiful harmony of various blue tonalities ranging from the white-blue of the shirt to the dark blue in the back corner on the top left. The abbreviated torso of the figure invites speculation, but I have always assumed the identity to be feminine. The blue apple with a heart shape carved or bitten out of it lends credence to my assumption as does the bright red cherry. Perhaps these objects refer to the innocence of the female or perhaps there is a yellow caution light flashing in the artist’s message. The complex nature of women and relationships invites both meanings simultaneously.
T he B ench 1960s Oil on canvas 24 x 41 inches
Dr. Irving Zupnick, was a brilliant American art historian who taught at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He also was a talented painter as evidenced by his painting that I have titled â€œThe Benchâ€?. This delightful painting has a Cubist flavor because there are a lot of planes created by single brushstrokes or small areas of flat color. The canvas is divided into fragments by these planes. The volume of the four figures and the depth of the picture space is not created by
traditional chiaroscuro or linear perspective techniques. The overlapping and positioning of the myriad of planes create the weight and rotundity of the figures as well as the depth of the picture space. The colors are very pleasant with the yellows glowing against the greens, blues, browns and whites. The palette has vitality and a glittering movement. The subject matter shows four diversely dressed men seated on a bench and interacting with one another.
L es D emoiselles d ’ A vignon (A fter P icasso ) c. 2006 Oil on canvas 58 x 51 inches When I acquired this large painting in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, I had to take it off its stretchers in order to get it home. Artists in the Dominican Republic were using many different stylistic periods of Picasso as sources for their work. This painting was unique and is a beautiful and charming folk art piece. It is based on Picasso’s 1907 masterpiece which depicted the young lady prostitutes of Avignon Street in Barcelona and which ushered in the Cubist movement and solidified the influence of Primitive Art. This painting does not have complicated Cubistic structure to its figures or space. R. Sergio uses the more traditional chiaroscuro method to model the figures and create their volume with grada-
tions of light and shade. The faces and poses of the four figures are based on Picasso’s original picture. R. Sergio’s painting is charming because of its imperfections. There is a naivite shown in the handling of anatomical detail, linear perspective to create depth and the use of chiaroscuro. The abstraction of forms and space in the painting make it a wonderful folk art piece. The colors that compose the painting are vibrant and the brushwork dances on parts of the canvas. The reddish brown areas at the four corners of the picture and the areas behind the women sparkle with colored brushstrokes and dabs of paint.
U ntitled (N ewspaper B ird ) c. 1995 Oil on canvas 24 x 20 inches I have less information about this painting than almost any other in my collection. I bought it from the artist himself who had a shop in the old section of Nice, France and I still do not know the artistâ€™s first name. Dury was working on an enormous canvas that depicted a multi-figured historical scene in a realistic style and the artist was quite unimpressed when I showed interest in buying this Untitled painting. The artist cut it out of the frame instead of taking the time to take it off the strecthers, when he packed it for me to take back to the United States.
I was enamored by the wonderful gold colors that the artist uses for the background and the way the distinctly painted newspaper bird/ kite image is in extremely sharp focus. The palette of white and black set in front of the gold has elegance. There are colored strings that imply that the newspaper/bird image is a puppet. The headlines that can be read in the paper refer mostly to financial problems. Political and social content aside, my enjoyment of this painting derives from the almost trompe lâ€™oeil image of the newspaper form that appears to be a three-dimensional collage in front of the gold background.
S till L ife W ith B ugle c. 1998 Oil on canvas 26 x 21 inches One night in Prague, Czech Republic, as my father and I were coming out of a famous puppet theater, I saw this amazing painting lit up behind the windows of a closed gallery. It is almost in a trompe lâ€™oeil style with the realistically depicted objects hanging on a simulated wood door. Panfiorow is a Russian artist who was selling his work in Prague and I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to acquire it. The brushwork in this painting is quite painterly which means
that the marks and strokes of the brush are left visible on the finished surface. Highlights are made with slashes of white paint. The wood of the door has layers of white paint over a large portion of it to show ageing. This painting needs to be viewed from a distance to have the images coalesce into a fool-the-eye scene. The concepts and objects that Panfiorow chooses to reference such as music, art, wine, a key, a clown doll and a dried flower are intriguing.
P ortrait O f D any R othchild 2010 Oil on canvas 32 x 24 inches Eugene Kuperman is a young artist who lives in California. He painted this portrait of my son Dany standing in his own bedroom with his favorite things at the time of the painting. The image of Dany dominates the composition by its placement on the central vertical axis of the picture. Dany is depicted wearing a favorite monkey jacket and he is surrounded by the things in his room including a two-tiered lego city,
a red car bed, and a shelf of books. Dany is wearing a favorite jacket. The artist chooses an almost full frontal presentation of Danyâ€™s face, but his body is turned into the room in order to create depth and give more spatial prominence to his thin figure. The flesh tones of the face and arms stand out from the darker reds, blues, greens and browns behind them. The face is painted in sharper focus than everything else.
A rtist A nd M odel c. 2006 Oil on cardboard 18 x 14 inches Arkady Dimant is a Russian artist who uses a very painterly style to create this abstract slightly na誰ve pleasant picture. The heavy impasto of the paint is present all over the canvas from the raised blobs of the colors on the palette to the beautiful strokes, dabs and slashes of color that compose the skin and faces of the two figures. Color and brushstroke are prominent elements of this painting, perhaps they are the subject matter. It is a painting about the art of painting. The artist and model are closely related by the similarity of their skin color and by the proximity of their faces. The three paintbrushes in the center of the composition and
the three globs of color emphasized against the white palette are the tools used to make the painting; they are the lifeblood and the DNA of the project. My enjoyment of this painting can be categorized mostly under the fun section. I like the rainbow of colors including the red and yellow harlequin shirt on the artist and the blue-green-purple combination used for the back wall. I like the abstraction of forms with the elongated necks and the naively rendered round breasts. I totally enjoy the texture and visual presence of the application of the paint.
U ntitled (M onolith ) 1980s Acrylic on natsume 72 x 31 inches Artistic license is the right of the artist to break rules. I am invoking collector â€™s license by including this in the painting section. The tearing of the natsume into various squares and strips and the use of the filaments of the natsume for texture and design make this a collage as much as a painting. There are many overlapping layers in various parts of the composition. The color palette is limited to grays, beiges and perhaps
some purples, but it is rich, varied and interesting as it moves from flat gray areas to fertile multi-hued textural areas. The large vertically orientated composition and the stone gray and beige color imbue this piece with monumentality and strength. Enduring natural forces are conjured up as the viewer transcends the non-objectivity of the picture and reacts to its color, texture, shape and compositon.
F rom V alados T o T he S ea 1984 Oil on canvas 36 x 30 inches Simon Lewis is an English painter whom I met when we were teaching together at an Art College in England. Simon lives in Leicestershire, England but he has a house in sunny Portugal. He once told me that he is the only English painter who uses lots of color. He was facetious, but â€œFrom Valados To The Seaâ€? is a wonderful burst of maroon and orange. The large maroon color field is lighter on the bottom because white is mixed in and darker on the top with black added to the maroon. The center of the field
has the truest and brightest maroon color. The color field on the upper portion of the painting contains yellow brushstrokes that turn to orange when put over the maroon. The line at the bottom of this smaller color area is a blazing orange. The entire field of oranges and maroons is bordered by gray and framed by black. The black reappears within the colored area almost as a shadow under the smaller orange field. The gray is interspersed in small doses throughout the maroon color field.
1997 Mixed media on canvas 24 x 29 inches The French painter Bernard Renuisat has made one of my favorite non-objective pieces. I enjoy this painting immensely and I have it hung in the hallway outside of my bedroom where I can gaze upon it frequently. I respond to the colors and the textures, the movement and the shapes, the brushwork and the design of the painting. Renuisat covers a large portion of the surface of the canvas with
lighter colors such as white or light gray; frequently other colors can be seen beneath the lighter ones. Often the top layers of Renuisatâ€™s colors are scratched away to reveal more colors. Individual sections of the painting contain beautiful and interesting interplay between the colors. These separate parts join together to make the entire composition active, alive and endlessly entrancing. Texture is as important as color in the overall design of this piece.
S unset L ine 1999 Oil on panel 7 x 8 inches
Suzanne Wiggin is an American painter who uses a very painterly style to make “Sunset Line.” The time is sunset and the setting is peaceful and pastoral. Yellows, golds, peaches and grays are among the colors resulting from the setting sun. Light is the main ingredi-
ent of the painting. The forms in the picture such as the clouds, the landscape, the boat and the river are dissolved in a luminescent atmosphere that creates the serene and contemplative mood of the painting. Color itself becomes subservient to light in “Sunset Line”.
Fun, fine art and fantasy: The Robert Harris Rothchild Collection