Eliot Hodgkin

Eliot Hodgkin, “Peeled Lemons”, 12/03/1958, Tempera on Board, 21.5 x 24.7 cm, Estate of Eliot Hodgkin, Exhibition: Royal Academy 1958

Born in Purley-on-Thames in June of 1905, Curwen Eliot Hodgkin was an English painter best known for his highly detailed still lifes. The only son of Charles Ernest Hodgkin and his wife Alice Jane Brooke, he was raised in a Quaker family related to Roger Eliot Fry, a prominent member of the Bloomsbury Group of artists. Eliot Hodgkin was also the younger cousin of abstract painter Sir Howard Hodgkin. 

Hodgkin received his early education at the Harrow School from 1919 to 1923. His initial formal art training was in London at the independent Byam Shaw School of Art. He later enrolled at the Royal Academy School where he studied under painter and draughtsman Francis Ernest Jackson, a student of both William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant. Hodgkin left the Royal Academy to prepare works for an upcoming exhibition at Liverpool’s Basnett Gallery. 

Eliot Hodgkin was very particular in the choice of subjects for his paintings; he would choose simple things, often natural objects, and meticulously arrange them against the painting’s background. Hodgkin originally painted in oils, both indoors and en plein air. Introduced in 1937 to a method of creating egg tempera by his friend and teacher Maxwell Armfield, he dedicated more of his time to painting indoors with egg tempera on primed hardboard. Hodgkin’s interest in egg tempera was influenced by the detailed work of such artists as Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbaran, known as the Spanish Caravaggio, and Adriaen Coorte, the Dutch Golden Age painter of small still lifes.

By the middle of the 1930s, Hodgkin had established himself as a painter of still lifes, landscapes and murals through regular exhibitions at the Royal Academy. Between 1934 and 1981, he took part in all the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions. Three of Hodgkin’s works, including the 1939 “October”, were purchased at the summer exhibitions by the Chantrey Bequest founded by wealthy portrait sculptor and painter Sir Francis Chantrey. These three works were later presented to the Tate Gallery collection in London. In 1938, Hodgkin had his first solo exhibition at the Picture Hire Gallery on London’s Brook Street where he showed twenty-three works painted during a ten month span.

During the years of World War II, Eliot Hodgkin joined the Air Raid Precautions, an organization of wardens supporting citizens during air raids, and worked for the Home Intelligence Division of the Ministry of Information. He continued his painting during the war and produced paintings contrasting the ruins of London’s bomb sites with the vegetation that thrived in the devastation. For his work, he received a commission as part of the War Artists Scheme, a project devised and administered by Kenneth Clark, the Director of the National Gallery. 

Hodgkin taught briefly as a teacher in 1936 at the Westminster School of Art. He was offered the position of academic at the Royal Academy of Art in 1959; however, he declined in order to concentrate on his painting. Hodgkin wrote a novel, “She Closed the Door” in 1931 and, in the following year, six articles on mural decorations for the book “Fashion Drawing” published by Chapman and Hall. In 1949, he published “A Pictorial Gospel”, a collection of old master illustrations of the Gospel story. His last published work was an article entitled “How I Paint in Temper” for the Society of Painters in Tempera’s 1967 yearbook. 

Eliot Hodgkin continued his painting until his late seventies. Due to eyesight difficulties, his work slowly diminished until it stopped completely in 1979. During the last years of his life, he suffered from axatia, loss of full control of his bodily movements. Eliot Hodgkin died in May of 1987 at the age of eighty-one; his ashes are buried in the churchyard of St. John’s Ladbroke Grove in London. 

“Why tempera?… Because tempera enables me most nearly to achieve the effects I am aiming at… I try to show things exactly as they are, yet with some of their mystery and poetry, and as though seen for the first time. And it seems to me that, in trying to depict “a World in a grain of sand”, perhaps the best medium is tempera, because it combines clarity and definition with a certain feeling of remoteness.” – Eliot Hodgkin, 1946, Royal Watercolor Society Catalogue

Note: More extensive information on Eliot Hodgkin’s life and work can be found at The Estate of Eliot Hodgkin website located at: https://www.eliothodgkin.com

Top Insert Image: Howard Coster, “Eliot Hodgkin”, 1953, Silver Gelatin Print, 22.9 x 17.8 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London

Second Insert Image: Eliot Hodgkin, “Five Gladiolus Bulbs”, 04/03/1954, Tempera on Board, 10.2 x 13.7 cm, Private Collection, Exhibited at Leicester Galleries in 1956

Third Insert Image: Eliot Hodgkin, “Portrait of Douglas Fitzpatrick”, Date Unknown (circa 1930), Pencil and Watercolor, 58.4 x 47 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Eliot Hodgkin, “Orto Chiuso, Malcontenta, Italy”, 1957, Oil on Canvas, 24.2 x 19.7 cm, Private Collection, Exhibition Waddesdon 2019

R. H. Ives Gammell

The Paintings of R. H. Ives Gammell

Born into a wealthy Providence, Rhode Island family in 1883, Robert Hale Ives Gammell was an American artist, one of the last American artists who were trained in the French Academic tradition of the late nineteenth-century. His work shows the influence of French Neoclassical painters Jacque-Louis David and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, as well as Academic painter Jean-Léon Gérôme. Gammell was also inspired by the work of his teachers: William Sargeant Kendall, with whom he studied from 1906 to 1914, and Boston artist William McGregor Paxton who mentored him from 1928 to 1930.

R. H. Ives Gammell attended Groton School, a private college-preparatory boarding school, where he spent much of his personal time drawing. His formal art education began at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts under Impressionist painters Joseph DeCamp, Edmund C. Tarbell, and Philip Leslie Hale. Gammell later studied in Paris at the Académia Julian and the Atelier Baschet under genre painter Henri Royer and portrait artist William Laparra. Although he had intended to stay five or six years in France, these studies in Paris were interrupted by his service in the United States military during World War I.

Upon his return to the United States, Gammell briefly returned to his studies at the Boston Museum School. However, he was frustrated as he felt that, although the standards established by the great nineteenth-century painters were generally accepted and understood, the procedures and principles for the construction of large figural compositions and imagined scenes were not being taught. Trained as an impressionist, Gammell was interest in painting decorative subjects in the academic tradition. He began his career in the Boston tradition with portraits, nudes and interior scenes with primarily female figures. As he matured, Gammell turned to ancient history, Greek mythology, literary and religious scenes, and psychology particularly that of C. G. Jung, for his subjects.

R. H. Ives Gammell produced many works in the 1930s; however, the recognition that he was working against the current trend in art and other stress factors led to a nervous breakdown in 1939. While recovering, Gammell read Carl Jung’s “Psychology of the Unconscious” and discovered an approach to a series of paintings based on poet Francis Thompson’s “The Hound of Heaven”. Read while a sixteen-year old student, this poem had held Gammell’s imagination and formed the basis of a number of sketches. He now saw Jung’s work as a link between myths, symbols, poetry and the recurring emotional patterns of human life.

Gammell had begun planning in 1941 the sequence of images that would embrace many of the themes he had considered throughout his career. His “Hound of Heaven” series consisted of twenty-three large format oil on canvas paintings, each being 200.7 x 68.6 cm in size. These illustrations of Thompson’s poem contain images and symbols drawn from various ancient and modern sources and conjure up deep human responses. The series, completed and exhibited in 1956, is considered by many to be Gammell’s greatest achievement, one which represented his artistic aims and ideas.

Starting in the 1940s, R. H. Ives Gammell taught at the Fenway Studios in Boston. His classes included the study of anatomy, memory drawing and the sight-size method, a technique that ,when viewed from a set vantage point, presents the drawing and subject with exactly the same dimensions. Among his many students were painters Robert Cormier and Richard Frederick Lack, the founder of Classical Realism; Robert Douglas Hunter known for his academic still lifes; and Samuel Rose known for his realistic and surreal subjects.

Gammell publish a book of art criticism in 1946 entitled “Twilight of Painting”, in which he argued that the tradition of European craftsmanship was undermined by modern art with its emphasis on abstraction. He also wrote a monograph on the Boston painter Dennis Miller Bunker, one of the first biographies on this innovator of Impressionism, and the 1961 book “Shop Talk of Edgar Degas”, a discussion of Degas’s connection to the act of painting. Gammell wrote a book of essays entitled “The Boston Painters: 1900-1930”, an examination of the genesis, contributions and motivations of the Boston School artists, many of whom Gammell knew personally. This volume was published posthumously.

Robert Hale Ives Gammell died, at the age of eighty-eight, in his Boston home in April of 1981. His papers, diaries, and notebooks with sketches are housed in the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Museum.

Note: A transcript of an 1973 Oral History interview with painter Robert Douglas Hunter, in which he discusses his years as a student of H. R. Ives Gammell, can be found at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art sit located at: https://www.aaa.si.edu/download_pdf_transcript/ajax?record_id=edanmdm-AAADCD_oh_212739

Second Insert Image: R.H. Ives Gammell, “The Predicament”, 1958, Oil on Canvas

Third Insert Image: R. H. Ives Gammell, “William” 1915, Oil on Canvas, 74.9 x 59 cm, Provincetown Art Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Robert Ives Gammell, “The fates”, circa 1930, Oil on Paper, 26.7 x 28.6 cm, Private Collection

Maurizio Bonfanti

The Paintings of Maurizio Bonfanti

Born in 1952 in Bergamo, a city in the alpine Lombardy region, Maurizio Bonfanti is an Italian painter and the son of fresco painter Angelo Bonfanti. He currently works from his studio in Bergamo close to his home in Torre Boldone.

Maurizio Bonfanti’s formal artistic education began with studies at the Liceo Artistico in Bergamo with additional courses in etching and intaglio at Bergamo’s Accademia di Bella Arti. In addition to his art studies, Bonfanti also studied modern literature at the Università Statale in Milan. In 1973, he left his study of modern literature and began to pursue his career as a painter. 

Bonfanti spent the decade of the 1970s exclusively working in the medium of etching but later made the decision to concentrate on painting. His work, which deals with the themes of nature, the human body and urban landscapes, is produced using experimental techniques influenced by his knowledge of etching. Bonfanti paints in thematic cycles, many of which are influenced by his early religious upbringing. His work has been influenced by such figurative artists as painter Renzo Vespignani, sculptor Augusto Perez, and postwar painters Gionfranco Ferroni and Giuseppe Guerreschi.

The development of a specific viewing angle seen in many of Bonfanti’s paintings was influenced by his experience in the photographic field. The focus point for his figurative work lies with the faceless human figures placed central in his compositions. These figures are posed theatrically, either standing, seated or crouching, and often portrayed alone, naked and surrounded by darkness. These compositions, represented in large-format images on canvas paper, display tension between the fragility of man highlighted by body language and the dense mixture of the unraveling, surrounding space. Faceless, the central figure’s condition and emotional state are inferred by the viewer solely through the pose of the depicted body.

Since 1978, Bonfanti’s work has been shown in many collective and solo exhibitions, both in Italy and abroad. He has participated in two prestigious exhibitions at Utrecht’s Contemporary Art Centre in Schalkwijk and showed in major exhibitions in Belgium and Holland. In 2001, on the occasion of the first Day of Remembrance, Bonfanti exhibited a cycle of large-format works entitled “Five Doors in Memory of the Shoah” in the Tempietto of the Synagogue of Turin. 

Bonfanti won the 2004 Prize of the Lord Mayor at the  International Biennial of Drawing in Pilsen. In 2012, his cycle of works, inspired by the biblical text “Ezechiele: 37”, was exhibited at the Museo Bernareggi in Bergamo. Bonfanti showed his work at the 2015 “A Different Perspective: Artwork by the Laureates of the Biennial of Drawing Pilsen” held at the Museum of West Bohemia. In 2016, his solo show “Limen” was held inside the historic Palazzo Storico del Credito Bergamasco in Bergamo. 

Maurizio Bonfanti taught painting techniques at the Liceo Artistico from 1976 to 1983. Since 1983, he has been a teacher of drawing and visual communication at a design and advertising school in Bergamo. 

“The surface of the paper on which I create my nudes suffers a series of attacks, which are an integral part of the expressive language of my works. I try to give substance to a smooth and neutral surface, and make it undergo a deterioration alongside the image, which is also intentionally eroded and scratched. The “wounded” paper is then glued to the canvas, creating the image of a body which seems to re-emerge from the past, but carries with it the fragility and energy of contemporary man.” — Maurizio Bonfanti, Excerpt from the 2021 Novitas Gallery exhibition

Second Insert Image: Maurizio Bonfanti, “Figura maschile in Paesaggio Urbano”, 2008, Mixed Technique on Paper on Canvas, 110 x 80 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Mauricio Bonfanti, “Confinato VI”, 2020, Acrylic Charcoal and Oil on Paper on MDF Panel, 30 x 30 cm, Private Collection

Sam Szafran

The Artwork of Sam Szafran

Born in Paris in November of 1934 to Jewish-Polish immigrants, Sam Szafran holds a unique place in the art world of the latter twentieth-century. His work is known for its figurative and lyrical approach to reality which he developed in the seclusion of his studio. 

Szafran grew up in the Quatier des Halles and had a particularly difficult childhood marked by the disasters of the second World War. During the war, he was hidden in the Loire Valley and southern France, and later in Switzerland. After returning to his mother in Paris in 1944, Szafran was captured by the Nazis and sent to a camp in Drancy, a commune in northeast Paris. Freed by the American forces, he left Europe and spent four years in Australia before returning to Paris in 1951. His traumatic life during the war years led Szafran to prefer solitude in which he focused on his own inner thoughts and sense of existence; this introspection gave rise to the prominent themes in his work.

Sam Szafran studied at the Atelier de la Grande Chaumière, located in the Montparnasse district of Paris, under French-American surrealist painter and engraver Henri Goetz. During the post-war period in France, Szafran became associated with painters and printmakers Jean Arp, Alberto Giacometti, and Yves Klein, a leading member of the French Nouveau New-Realism movement. He also became acquainted with photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson and documentary photographer Martine Franck.

During his studies at the atelier, Szafran earliest works were in the field of abstraction. In the early 1960s, the discovery of the pastel became a significant event in his life. Since then, Szafran began using the chalks of Pastels Roché as the dominating technique in his work, either alone or in combination with charcoal or watercolor. At the same time, the themes of his work changed. Szafran’s obsession with mastering the technique of pastel led to numerous series of staircases, greenhouses with jungle-like interiors, and ateliers filled with materials. His work focused on figurative themes and the technical precision needed for pastel work, a style quite opposite the abstract and gestural work at that time.

Sam Szafran was an experimental artistic explorer. Throughout his career, he concentrated on a small range of subjects, most notably views of the interior of his studio and a staircase in a Rue de Seine apartment building. In Szafran’s staircase and room series, the viewer’s gaze is challenged by the distorted and deconstructed perspectives and enclosed places that are tightly sealed on themselves. For over fifty years, he produced what he called “feuillages” or studies of potted plants in interior spaces. These are watercolors depicting Szafran’s obsession with plants: their  infinite interstices of leaves, aerial tendrils and luxuriant foliage. 

In 1991, Sam Szafran received the Grand Prix des Arts de la Ville de Paris. He was awarded the 3rd Prix Piero Crommelynck in 2011. Sam Szafran passed away in September of 2019 and is buried in the Cimetière Parisian de Bagneux. Throughout much of Sam Szafran’s career, his work was acquired by a coterie of enthusiastic and devoted collectors. Prominent among these was the French-American businessman and collector William Louis-Dreyfus, who assembled an exceptional group of works by the artist that spanned several decades of his career.

Szafran’s work has been exhibited in many galleries throughout the years including Paris’s Galerie Claude Bernard, Galerie Jacques Kerchache, and Galerie Vallois. His work was shown at Caja Iberia in Saragosse, Spain in 1988; New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2004: the Musée d’Orsay in 2008; and the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl, Germany in 2010. Szafran’s work is housed in many public collections including that of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Top Insert Image: Sam Szafran, Untitled (Plants), 1986-1987, Watercolor on Paper, Page from Sketchbook, 73.7 x 47.6 cm, William louis-Dreyfus Foundation

Bottom Insert Image: Sam Szafran, “L’Atelier”, 2019, Lithograph in Colors, Edition of 80, Publisher Cornette de Saint-Cyr, 121 x 80 cm, Private Collection

Sergey Svetlakov

Paintings and Drawings by Sergey Svetlakov

Born in 1961 in the city of Kazan located on the Volga River in southwest Russia, Sergey Svetlakov is a painter and stage designer. His oeuvre includes psychological portraits from life, still lifes, and figurative paintings and drawings of nude models. Svetlakov graduated in 1981 from the Kazan Art School; founded in 1895, it is one of the oldest art institutions in Russia. He graduated with honors in 1986 from Saint Petersburg’s Theater Academy, a state institute for theater, music and cinematography, where he was an art director of drama and musical theater.

Svetlakov worked for several years as a set designer in theaters throughout the country. His most notable work during this period was costume design for composer Edison Denisov’s 1981 opera “L’Ecume des Jours” which was based on Boris Vlan’s novel of the same name. The opera’s 1986 world premiere took place at the Opéra-Comique in Paris with later performances at Perm’s Tchaikovsky Opera and Ballet Theater in 1989 and the Staatsoper Stuttgart in late 2012.

In the early 1990s, Sergey Svetlakov ceased working on theater productions and focused on portraits, nude studies and still lifes. In his carefully detailed work, he attempts to join the traditions of academic Realism with the style of Neo-Classicism. In his still lifes, the fruit, vases and other objects retain their natural material weight against the heavy folds of arranged, patterned drapery. For his portraits and nude studies, Svetlakov works only from models and strives to convey the beauty and inner life of his sitters, usually ordinary people with various types of social backgrounds. 

One of Svetlakov’s models, Denis, was an actor who had placed an advertisement in the local paper in order to make extra money. Svetlakov’s “Portrait of Denis: Actor, Juggler and Fashion Model” is a painting, done primarily in a red palette, that presents an intense figure of Ukrainian, Russian, Greek, and Tater origins. This portrait won the second-place 2020 BP Portrait Award from the National Gallery in London.

Sergey Svetlakov has exhibited widely across Europe, the United States and Japan. In April of 2000, he entered his work in Moscow’s Zero Gallery as part of the exhibition for the Manege Art Fair. Other group exhibitions include the 2012 Art Asia in Miami; the Art Hamptons-USA 2013 exhibition at Gallery G-77 in Kyoto, Japan; the 2014 Affordable Art Show at Galerie MooiMan in Groningen, the Netherlands; and the Affordable Art Shows held at Galerie MooiMan in Milan, Italy and in Maastricht, the Netherlands, both in 2015. 

Svetlakov also had a solo exhibition of his work at Penates, formerly the estate of portrait painter Ilya Repin and now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of his most recent works, “The Youth from Moldavia” was exhibited at the 2021 Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ Annual Exhibition held at the Mall Galleries in London. 

Sergey Svetlakov’s life and work was the subject of a documentary for the “Property of the Republic” series  produced and aired by Russian National Television in 1991. For many years, the prestigious London auction house, MacDougall’s, has been selling Svetlakov’s work as part of its Russian art series. Sergey Svetlakov currently lives and maintains a studio in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Sergey Svetlakov’s website, with images and contact information, can be located at: https://sergeysvetlakov.com

Second Insert Image: Sergey Svetlakov,, “Anton Karavaev”, Date Unknown, Graphite Pencil on Paper Life Drawing

Bottom Insert Image: Sergey Svetlakov, “Portrait of Dmitry”, Date Unknown, Graphite Pencil on Paper Life Drawing

Randall Lake

Artwork by Randall Lake

Born in California in 1947, Randall Lake is an American artist who, influenced by an exhibition of work by Van Gogh, paints oil landscapes, still-lifes and portraits in an impressionistic realist style. He is currently based in Utah with a studio in Salt Lake City and a studio in his Spring City cottage home. 

Lake traveled to France and studied French in 1968 at the Sorbonne of the University of Paris. When the events of the May 1968 protests closed the university, he continued his studies at the Academie Julian under painter Claude Schurr. In addition to his painting studies, Lake completed his English Degree, Cum Laude, in 1970 at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 1972, he studied with Belgium designer and color-abstract painter Gustave Singier at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts. 

Randall Lake was an instructor in English at the Sorbonne from 1970 to 1973. He studied printmaking in 1973 under English printmaker and painter Stanley William Hayter at the Atelier 17, an experimental workshop that was influential in the teaching and promotion of printmaking in the twentieth-century. After four years of teaching, Lake settled in Utah where he studied under English-born portrait artist Alvin Gittins at the University of Utah. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1977 and became in 1978 a visiting member of the Department of Art Studio faculty at the university.

Lake continuously searches for new subjects and techniques for his work. Over time, his journey in art has reflected his journey in life, from the traditional landscapes executed as a Mormon to the more daring works as an openly gay man. Lake is drawn to the atmosphere that was present in the nineteenth-century, the lifestyle, the arts and the architecture. He paints from life and location to capture the essence of the subject and the moment. Seeking a change in his work, Randall Lake has begun experimenting with the elements of Abstraction and Fauvism, a movement which emphasized painterly qualities of brushwork and strong color. 

Randall Lake is the recipient of many awards for his work, including the 2003 Grand Prix du Peintre Maudit from Salt Lake City’s Guthrie Institute, the 2015 and 2016 Award of Merit for the Spring City Plein Air Competition, ant the 2001 and 2006 Governor of Utah Award for Fine Art, among others. His work is in many private and public collections, including the Jinling Library in Nanjing, China; Utah State Collection of Art; Wyoming State Collection; Utah Museum of Fine Art; and the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York.

Note: A video portrait of Randall Lake by Michael Schoenfeld for  RadioWest Films can be found at: https://films.radiowest.org/film/randall-lake

An article on Randall Lake’s work, with quotes by the artist, can be found at the Springville Museum of Art website located at: https://www.smaexhibition-self.org/randall-lake.html

Randall Lake’s website, containing his work, gallery events and contact information, can be found at: https://www.randalllake.com/page/11302/collection

Second Insert Image: Randall Lake, “Afternoon Nap”, 1991, Pastel on Paper, 35.6 x 45.7 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Randall Lake, “Self Portrait with Model”, 1992, Oil on Canvas, 91.4 x 76.2 cm

Karl Bertil Gadö

The Artwork of Karl Bertil Gadö

Born in Malmö in July of 1916 to railway official Karl Emil Gadö and Hedvig Maria Persson, Karl Bertil Gadö was a Swedish painter and graphic artist. In addition to his self-study, he received formal training between 1933 and 1935 at the Skåne Painting School (Skånska Målarskolan) in Malmö. Gadö’s work and that of his contemporaries was inspired by political ideologies of the 1930s and ideas posed by the prominent Surrealist movement; the combination of these two forces created a new form of art, magic realism.

Gadö first exhibited his work in 1939 at a collective exhibition in Malmö. In 1943, he had his first solo exhibition in Malmö and later exhibited in 1947 at a group exhibition in Malmö’s City Hall. Works by Gadö were included in the 1948 “God Konst i Alla Hem (Good Art in the Home)” exhibition held at the HSB-Huset in Fleminggatan, Stockholm. Along with landscape painter Lars Engström, he regularly participated in Skåne’s art exhibitions. 

From 1948 to 1952, Karl Bertil Gadö was a member of the Imaginisterna, an avant-garde surrealist artist group founded in 1948 by painter and designer Max Walter Svanberg. This group of artists, who were looking for an alternative approach to surrealism, left the detailed style of Salvador Dali in favor of the artistic works of artists like Max Ernst and Paul Klee. Members of the Imaginisterna included such Swedish artists as painter Max Walter Svanberg, painter and lithographer Carl-Otto Hultén, painter Anders Österlin, and book illustrator and cartoonist Gösta Kriland.

Gadö was also a member of the Skånsk Avantgardekonst, or the Skånes Avant-Garde Art: he participated in their 1949 exhibition at the Malmö Museum and the 1951 exhibitions held in  Hälsingborg and Stockholm. Gadö presented his work in the 1951 Biennial held at the Museum of Modern Art in San Paulo, Brazil. He was also represented in the same year at an exhibition of Skåne artists held in the Liljevalch Art Hall in Stockholm.

In the 1960s, Karl Bertil Gadö presented intense experiences of nature in his work. Various animal species were presented as symbols of life’s struggle in scenes foreboding disasters and devastation; he also emphasized in his work the ideals of  independence and man’s willingness to find his own way in life. Around 1980, a culmination of Gadö’s work was a series of images whose content revolved around cosmic motifs. Most of these paintings were executed with clear contour lines; between these lines, the spaces were covered in a limited scale of brown and gray tones. 

Gadö worked for decades with public works in relief, free sculpture, mosaics and stained glass. These works contained content similar to his paintings with the earlier ones containing strong abstract compositions. Karl Bertil Gadö died in 2014, at the age of eighty-eight. His work is held in both private and public collections. Major collections include the Malmö Museum and the Moderna Museet of the National Museum in Stockholm.

Note: An extensive study entitled “Surrealism, Occultism and Politics: In Search of the Marvelous”, which dwells on the motifs, thoughts and techniques of Surrealism’s various artists and writers, is a well researched article that explores the relationship between Occultism and Surrealism. The article can be found at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/arena-attachments/1418044/4266cce09074ad02812bbef9fd73cc1b.pdf?1510498215

Second Insert Image: Karl Bertil Gadö, “Uppe i Projektet”, 1990, Oil on Canvas, 130 x 100 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Karl Bertil Gadö, “The Miracle”, Date Unknown, Colored Woodcut, Edition of 25, 36 x 35 cm, Private Collection

Mark Maggiori

Mark Maggiori, “What Lies Within Us”, 2021, Oil on Linen, 127 x 142.2 cm, Private Collection

Western Paintings by Mark Maggiori

Born in June of 1977 in Fontainebleau, a commune in the Paris metropolitan area, Mark Maggiori is a French-American painter, draftsman, graphic designer, musician and lead vocalist of the metal band Pleymo. He is known for his landscapes of the American Southwest and scenes featuring Native Americans and American cowboys. 

At the age of fifteen, Maggiori traveled during a vacation with his family on a month-long road trip from New York to San Francisco. This long trip, with views of the country’s majestic national parks, made a lasting impression on him and evoked his fascination with Western art. Years later, Maggiori was formally trained in academic drawing at Paris’s Academie Julian, where other great western artists, such as Joseph Henry Sharp and Ernest L. Blumenschein, had trained before forming the Taos Society of Artists in 1915. 

In 1997 after earning his degree, Mark Maggiori formed, along with musicians Benoít Julliard, Fred Ceraudo, and Mathias Borronquet, the successful nu metal band Pleymo. The band caught the attention of producer Stéphane Kraemer and released their first album entitled “Keçkispasse?” through the Wet Music label. The band led to opportunities in Europe and other artistic disciplines, such as photography and filmmaking, that increased Maggiori’s artistic creativity.

Maggiori met and married Los Angeles multi-media artist Petecia Le Fawnhawk, both of whom were drawn to the beauty of the American West. At the age of thirty-six, he made the commitment to concentrate on painting Western art. As a Frenchman, Maggiori had a profoundly unique vision of the American cowboy: however, in a span of a few years, he rose through the ranks to become one of the notable Western artists working today. Maggiori’s work combines the outdoor perspective with the colors and techniques he learned from his earlier photographic and film experiences. A prominent aspect of his Western scenes is the depiction of layered, textural clouds which highlight the figures in his landscapes.

Mark Maggiori has participated in many important solo and group shows. At the 2007 “Night of Artists” exhibition at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, he won the Sam Houston Award. To acquaint himself with the Western lifestyle, Maggiori began to spend time on ranches with cowboys and on horseback. Starting in 2017, he concentrated on painting outdoors, en plein air, in Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Maggiori’s work has been featured in various publications including Southwest Art, Forbes Magazine, Flaunt, Western Horseman, and others. His work has been exhibited at San Antonio’s Briscoe Western Art Museum, the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis, and Los Angeles’s Maxwell Alexander Gallery.

Second Insert Image: Mark Maggiori, “Trail Blazing”, 2019, Oil on Linen, 61 x 45.7 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Mark Maggiori, “Under the Pueblo Sun”, 2020, Oil on Linen, 81.3 x 86.4 cm, Private Collection

Radek Husak

The Artwork of Radek Husak

Born in Poland in 1984, Radek Husak ia a contemporary process-driven mixed-media artist whose works in the expanded field of print. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from the Royal College of Art and is currently based in London. 

Through his research and experimentation, Husak developed a new approach to printmaking. He works with pigment transfers twinned with carbon-drawn elements that are either placed on paper or sandblasted aluminum panels. Blasting through the outer layer of aluminum reveals a reflective inner core upon which the pigment transfers are placed. These images are then embellished with paint, soft pastels, bodycolor, and carbon and color pencils.

Radek Husak’s work is inspired by art history, fashion, and queer theory. He combines the tradition of the nude with the large color-elements of 1950s and 1960s Pop Culture. Husak’s images, with their overlapping figurative forms, create in essence a static glitch. The edges of one body blurs and melts into the next, thereby creating  sense of movement. The resulting movement effect of these bold, modern images bring to mind the early movement studies by French scientist and photographer Étienne-Jules Marey, which he produced in the 1800s. 

Husak creates works in the abstract form and constructs these images by taking elements of nature, such as skies, clouds and anatomical features, fragmenting and rearranging them to form flowing patterns. He also has produced figurative work in other mediums including ceramics and stained glass. 

Radek Husak has shown his work in 2021 and 2011 at the Woolwich Contemporary Print Fair in London. The Grove Gallery and Quantus Gallery, both in London, are the venues for Husak’s first solo show, entitled “Duality” which is running from November 23 until December 22 in 2022. 

Radek Husak’s work can be seen at his website located at: http://www.rhusak.co.uk   His work can also be seen at Artsy located at: https://www.artsy.net/show/grove-gallery-duality?sort=partner_show_position

Bottom Insert Image: Radek Husak, “Saint Sebastian (SS5)”, 2022, Pigment Transfer, Bodycolor, Carbon and Color Pencils and Collage on Sandblasted Aluminum, Edition of 3, 84 x 60 cm, Private Collection

Naila Hazell

The Paintings of Naila Hazell

Born in 1981, Naila Hazell is a British contemporary artist who was raised in Baku, Azerbaijan. She studied fine arts under the renowned Soviet social-realist painter Boyukagha Mirzezade, a laureate of the State Prize of the Azerbaijan Republic. Hazell  received her MFA at the Azerbaijani Fine Arts Academy. Although working mainly in oils, she is exploring other mediums for her conceptual art projects.

Hazell is mainly a figurative artist whose work in oils contain a diversity of deep colors and structures surrounding her figures. Her works explore the stillness found in those short precious moments that happen throughout one’s life, often ignored due to life’s rapid pace. Hazell’s themes contain many stories linked to ordinary life experiences; they also contain messages about the deeper realities of life and offer glimpses into individual identities. 

Naila Hazell’s work has been included in many group exhibitions since her initial entry in a 2000 group exhibition in Baku. Her second group show was “White and Black” held in 2009 at the Azerbaijan National Museum in Baku. From 2010 to 2020, Hazell has had work in sixteen group shows in Azerbaijan and England. Among these were the 2011 “Novruz Celebration” held at Gibson Hall, Bishop Gate in London, the 2020 Mall Galleries Annual Exhibition for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, and the 2020 Mall Galleries Royal Society of British Artists 303rd Annual Exhibition in London.

In 2008, Hazrll had her first solo exhibition entitled “You Are Always With Me” at Baku’s Art Centre Gallery. Her second solo was the 2012 “Naila Hazell” exhibition held at the Axerbaijan Cultural Center in London. In 2020, Hazell exhibited her works at a solo exhibition in the Hogarth Health Club in Chiswick, London. Currently based in her West London studio, she was the recipient of the 2021 Royal Scottish Academy’s Lyon and Turnbull Award. 

Naila Hazell’s work is currently being shown at an exhibition entitled “Face to Face” held at London’s Gillian Jason Gallery on Great Titchfield Street until the 17th of December. Hazell’s website can be found at:  https://www.nailahazell.com

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Naila Hazell with Self Portrait”

Middle Insert Image: Naila Hazell, “Intersection with Shadows”, 2022, Oil on Linen

Bottom Insert Image: Naila Hazell, “Resting on Truth”, 2022, Oil on Linen

Dương Xuân Quyền

Paintings by Dương Xuân Quyền

Born in the Son Duong district of Vietnam in 1987, Dương Xuân Quyền is an artist and educator currently working at Tan Trao University in Tuyen Quang, Vietnam. He is a graduate of the Fine Arts Program at the Hanoi National University of Education. 

Dương Xuân Quyền works in the Vietnamese tradition of carved-woodblock printing on black paper as a familiar way to express the contemporary issue of gay relationships to the public. Having produced the initial print work, Quyền then enriches the image with colors from acrylic or oil paints. His current work contains images of male couples as well as lush, tropical scenes of natural habitat. 

From 2011 to 2015, Quyền regularly participated in the Northwest-Viet Bac Exhibition, one of the seven regional contemporary art exhibitions in the country. He also organized a 2015 group exhibition entitled “Sac Autumn” at Hanoi’s Exhibition Hall 16 in Ngo Quyen. 

Dương Xuân Quyền had his first solo exhibition in 2017 entitled “Love People of the Same Sex”, a collection consisting of twenty-two paintings and embellished wood-carved etchings on paper. In his work, he used tropical foliage and water taro leaves as the background for his presentations of male couples in romantic poses. 

In 2020, Quyền won the Third-Place Prize at the Northwestern Fine Arts Exhibition-Region III exhibition for his series “Delayed Appointment I,II,III”. In 2021, he again entered the same exhibition and won another Third-Place Prize, this time for his series “My Side Tells Stories About the Days Apart I, II, III”. Quyền’s second solo exhibition was held in Hanoi in 2022 and entitled “Vertical Flowers”. The show consisted of twenty-eight, large oil and acrylic paintings which depicted Duoc Mung leaves, a native plant well-known to the public. 

Insert Image: Dương Xuân Quyền, “Awakening Lovers”, 2020, Oil on Canvas, 80 x 100 cm, Private Collection

Images of Dương Xuân Quyềns artwork can be found at his Instagram site located at: https://www.instagram.com/xuanquyenstudio/?hl=en

Carlos Cancio

Carlos Cancio, “Los Bañistas (The Bathers)”, 1989-1990, Acrylic on Paper Laid on Canvas, 230.9 x 175 cm, Private Collection

Carlos Cancio is a Cotemporary Puerto Rican artist; specialized in painting. After graduating from the University of Boston with a degree in fine arts, Cancio moved to Spain, where he set up his first studio. From 1991 to 2003, he lived in San Francisco, California; he currently lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cancio has traveled extensively, including India where he became more familiar with that country’s art and culture.

Cancio began to show his work professionally in 1981, and has presented his work in several cities in the United States, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.  He has had solo shows at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 1987, the Museum of Art and History in San Juan in 1988, and the Museo de las Casas Reales Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic in 2004. Cancio has also taken part in group shows in the United States and Puerto Rico. His work is characterized by his poetic style, the use of figuration and its inclusion of pan-Caribbean motifs.

Image reblogged with many thanks to: https://doctordee.tumblr.com

Charles Dean Cornwell

The Artwork of Dean Cornwell

Born in Louisville, Kentucky in March of 1892, Charles Dean Cornwell was an illustrator and muralist who was a dominant presence in American illustration during the first half of the twentieth- century. He began his professional career at the age of eighteen as a cartoonist for the Louisville Herald. In 1911, Cornwell found employment with the art department of the Chicago Tribune and began studies at the Chicago Art Institute where he studied under educator and painter Harvey Dunn, a prominent student of illustrator Howard Pyle and a member of the Brandywine School collective.

In 1915, Dean Cornwell traveled to New Rochelle, New York, well known for its established art colony, and studied under Dunn at the Art Students League in New York City where he eventually developed his own light-imbued style. In 1918 in Chicago, Cornwell married artist Mildred Montrose Kirkham, who also studied at the Chicago Art Institute. They had two children; however, due to Cornwell’s constant extramarital affairs, they separated after a few years but never divorced.

Possessing a strong work ethic, Cornwell often worked seventeen hours a day and through the entire week. His illustrations appeared in nearly every major publication in the United States including Redbook, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping. In 1926, Cornwell signed a long-term contract with Cosmopolitan for an annual salary of one-hundred thousand dollars, equivalent to over a million dollars today.

Dean Cornwell illustrated the novels of authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Pearl S. Buck, W. Somerset Maugham, and short story writer Edna Ferber. He also illustrated posters to support the United States war efforts in three major conflicts, the Korean War effort and both the first and second World Wars. Through his career, Cornwell  did advertising for hundreds of companies including General Motors, the Pennsylvania Railroad, Goodyear, and New York Life; he also illustrated ads for such products as Coca-Cola, Seagram’s Gin, and Palmolive Soap. 

Deciding to dedicate the rest of his career to mural painting, Cornwell  traveled  to London in 1927, where he apprenticed to the painter Sir Frank William Brangwyn for a three-year study of mural painting. He assisted Brangwyn in a series of murals, including the British Empire Panels designed for the House of Lords. These panels, begun in 1925 and completed in 1932, were not hung in the Royal Gallery of the House of Lords as intended. Considered too lively and colorful, the panels were housed in a specially built hall in Swansea. 

The most renowned of Dean Cornwell’s murals is the Los Angeles Public Library’s  twelve-panel “History of California” which encircles the Grand Rotunda. Painted on linen canvases and finished in 1933,  the forty-foot tall panels took five years to complete. Cornwell, having used all the funding after two years, took on illustrative work to finance the project to its completion. His other murals include, among others, those for the General Motors exhibition at the 1939 World’s Fair, New York’s Hotel Warwick’s Raleigh Room, the Easter Airlines building (now 10 Rockefeller Plaza), Boston’s New England Telephone headquarters building, and the William Rappard Center in Geneva, Switzerland.

Cornwell lectured and taught at New York’s Art Students League. From 1922 to 1926, he served as the president of the Society of Illustrators and was elected into its Hall of Fame in 1959. Cornwall was elected in `923 into the National Academy of Design as an Associate Academician and achieved full status in 1940. He served as President of the National Society of Mural Painters for four years beginning in 1953. Charles Dean Cornwell died at the age of sixty-eight in New York City on December 4th of 1960. A collection of his papers, correspondence, sketches, scrapbooks and photographs are housed in the Archives of American Art located in the Victor Building in Washington, DC. 

Note: A very extensive article on Dean Cornwell, complete with family history, can be found at the PulpArtists website: https://www.pulpartists.com/Cornwell.html

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Dean Cornwell in Studio”, Date Unknown, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Inset Image: Dean Cornwell, “Study of a Boy, for Water Mural”, 1927-33, Pastel and Charcoal Pencil on Paper, 58.4 x 38.1 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Dean Cornwell, Los Angeles Public Library”, 1933, Gelatin Silver Print

Bottom Insert Image: Dean Cornwell, “Study of a Boy, for Water Mural”, 1927-33, Pastel and Charcoal Pencil on Paper, Dimensions and Location Unknown

Igor Sychev

The Paintings of Igor Sychev

Born in February of 1987 in the northern city of Nadym, Igor Sychev is a Russian artist known for his Magic-Realistic figurative paintings. At the age of five years having shown an inclination towards the arts, his parents enrolled him in the city’s art school where he studied until the age of sixteen. Sychev left Nadym upon graduation and relocated to Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, where he entered the Faculty of Industrial Design at the State Academy of Architecture, Design and Fine Arts.

After graduating from the Academy in 2010, Sychev moved to Moscow, which as Russia’s capital offered wider prospects for a career and self-expression. He soon obtained employment as an industrial designer and created designs for furniture and interior spaces. In 2011 while working in the design field , Sychev began a personal study of oil painting techniques. Over the next ten years, Igor Sychev gradually redirected his energies into pursuing a career as a painter. 

In addition to the primary medium of oil paints, Igor Sychev also produces works in the mediums of watercolor, pencil, sepia and charcoal. His work is inspired by the works of the recognized Master artists , such as Michelangelo’s “David”, who viewed the nude male body as a source of beauty, Other influences on Sychev’s work include the paintings of Lucian Freud and Egon Schiele, the large-scale expressive paintings of Paolo Troilo, painter Gregory Little’s boldly colored figures in everyday scenes,  and Portuguese painter Carlos Barahona Possollo’s male nude paintings.   

As the present politics and attitudes in Russian are predominantly homophobic, Igor Sychev has not been able to exhibit in galleries or museums. He holds his private exhibitions in establishments offered by friends. Sychev’s work is held in many private collections throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, and South Africa, among others. 

Images of Igor Sychev’s paintings, watercolors and drawings, as well as contact information, can be found at the artist’s website located at: https://www.igorsychev.com

Bottom Insert Image: Igor Sychev, “Concrete Colours” Sketch, Date Unknnown, White/Black Pencil and Pen on Paper, Artist Collection (Available)

Gabrielle Garland

The Paintings of Gabrielle Garland

Born in New York City in 1968, Gabrielle Garland is an American painter whose work is centered on the elements of architecture, space, and design. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and earned her MFA from the University of Chicago. The daughter of artistic parents, Garland was influenced by her early participation in her mother’s profession of decorative painting. She currently resides in New York’s East Village and maintains a studio in Brooklyn. 

For the last decade, Garland has been creating a series of images based on rural American architecture. These surreal portraits of houses and apartments, devoid of people, feature exterior views seen from the street and interior scenes arranged with personal domestic furnishings. Executed with a bold palette, the paintings show a fluid, elastic perspective, often containing oblique angles, which gives each home a unique personality. Lacking distinctive architectural features or indications of geographical locations, these anthropomorphic structures could stand anywhere.

Gabrielle Garland has exhibited her work in many group and solo exhibitions at both galleries and public spaces. These include multiple solo shows at the Hap Gallery in Portland, Oregon; the 2014 exhibition at Chicago’s Logan Center; the 2015 group show at MoMA’s Clemente Soto Vélex Cultural Center; multiple showings at Expo Chicago curated by Corbett vs Dempsey; the 2018 Campbell Project Space exhibition in Sydney, Australia; the 2017 Postcards from the Edge: Benefit for Visual Aids held in New York City; and “Chasing Phantoms”, a group show in 2022 at The Pit in Los Angeles, among others. 

In addition to her paintings, Garland produced in 2014 the limited edition, black and white “Gabrielle Garland: Coloring Book”, created from a series of her drawings that became paintings of artists’ spaces. 

Gabrielle Garland’s website, which contains images of both paintings and drawings, as well as upcoming exhibitions and contact information, can be found at: http://www.gabriellegarland.org

Top Insert Image: Gabrielle Garland, “Untitled 160”, 2020, Acrylic on Canvas over Panel, 55.9 x 68.5 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Gabrielle Garland, Untitled 63 (Green Coffee Table), Oil on Panel, 40.6 x 50.8 cm,

Orla Muff

Orla Muff, “Nana”, 1934, Oil on Canvas, 45.1 x 55.3 cm, Private Collection

Born in April of 1903 in Copenhagen, Orla Andreas Heinrik Jacobsen was a Danish painter and illustrator. From 1917 to 1921, he received his formal art education at the Copenhagen Technical School under Carl Lund, the leading theatrical artist of the time. In 1917, he adopted a change in name to Orla Muff. 

In 1918, Muff was awarded a distinguished seat at the Day’s Drawing Concourse, an event held by Children’s Aid, and had his first drawing printed on a postcard. In the same year he drew one hundred different illustrations depicting gnomes for a series of postcards, which was released in large editions several times. Muff’s illustrations for the early postcards were signed with an intertwined O and J standing for Orla Jacobsen. He continued to design postcards until the late 1960s; these later works were signed with Orla Muff.

After his studies with Carl Lund, Orla Muff began a period of travel through Europe where he studied in Sweden, Holland, France and Germany. He achieved acclaim early in his career as a designer of elaborate Art Deco styled sets for prominent European revues and theatrical productions. Included among these designs were sets for performances at Copenhagen’s Folk Theater, Austrian-born theatrical producer Max Reinhardt’s Theater in Berlin, and Norway’s Mayol Theater in Oslo. 

In addition to his set designs, Muff began easel painting in the early 1930s; he created portraits, figurative works, and abstract paintings. His work is characterized by a refined sophistication and a predominantly light-toned color scale. Muff’s abstract compositions, executed in the styles of the Art Deco and Cubist movements, often contain mythologically inspired figures set in largely monochromatic backgrounds. 

Painted in his early thirties, Orla Muff’s 1934 “Nana” is an Art Deco derived, Expressionist oil portrait of a young, high-spirited woman, shown smoking a cigarette and set against a mottled turquoise background. Muff’s use of strong lighting effects produced a dramatic and psychologically penetrating portrait of this young woman.

During the course of his career, Orla Muff exhibited successfully in many European exhibitions and was the recipient of juried awards and prizes. Among his notable works are “Leda and the Swan” exhibited in 1940; the 1940 oil on canvas “Tropical Jungle Women”; a 1947 series of wooden sculptural figures based on Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales;  a 1957 series of illustrations from the Bible for use in films; and posters, costume designs, and theater decorations executed in 1921 and 1922  for performances of Anderson’s tales at the Mayol Theater in Oslo. 

Orla Muff died in the city of Copenhagen in December of 1984. A small collection of personal correspondence from Orla Muff to Dr. Raymond Piper, as well as a photo of the artist and photos of Muff’s artwork, can be found in the Special Collections of the University of West Georgia.

Notes: An extensive collection of Orla Muff’s illustrated postcards can be found at the Danish Postcard Artists site located at: https://www.piaper.dk/postkortkunstnere/Postkortkunstnere/Orla_Muff/Orla_Muff.htm   

A collection of fifty-five images of Orla Muff’s music sheet covers is located at the online Illustrated Sheet Music site: https://www.imagesmusicales.be/search/illustrator/Muff/11874/ShowImages/80/Submit/

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Orla Muff”, Date Unknown, Collection of the Royal Danish Library, Copenhagen

Second Insert Image: Orla Muff, Music Sheet Cover for “Smaragden”, Composer Einar Cronhammer, 1923

Third Insert Image: Orla Muff, Music Sheet Cover for “Han är Söt och Rar”, Composer Harald Mortensen, 1925

Bottom Insert Image: Orla Muff, Music Sheet Cover for “Femina”, Composer Sven Rüno, 1923

Adrien Pelletier

Portraits by Adrien Pelletier

Born in Paris in 1981, Adrien Pelletier is a French painter whose work focuses on the art of portraiture. He earned his Bachelor of FineArts in Graphic Design at Paris’s Central Saint Martins in 2004 and his Master of Fine Arts at London’s Royal College of Arts in 2006. Pelletier also studied graphic design history and semiotics at Ecole Estienne in Paris. He has held the position of art director for many years at fashion magazines based in Paris and London.

For his Bachelor of Arts graphic design dissertation at Central Saint Martins in 2004, Adrien Pelletier produced “SWAG: The Talent of the Others”.  The home-printed book was a collection of fictional interviews around the theme of borrowing from others. The research investigated various dialectic oppositions, such as original versus copy, authentic versuss fake, author versus artist, legal versus legitimate, authority versss integrity, and the concept of you versus me.

Executed in the mediums of acrylic or gouache, Pelletier’s works  are intimate portraits of strangers, friends and lovers who are situated in outdoor or personal interior settings. These compositions, either innocent or sexual in nature, are painted using bold and complimentary colors in a straightforward, naive style. Pelletier uses personal photographs of people in his life as references for his work. His first exhibition in Paris was as part of Exposition Collective Libre N. 2 held at the 3537 Gallery in March of 2022.

At the invitation of Jean Pierre Blanc, the director of the arts center  La Villa Noaillees, Pelletier began in 2017 an Art Residency on the Île du Levant off the coast of the French Riviera. While there, he painted a series of forty-five portraits of the residents of the island’s naturalist village, a society of independent individuals who shun cars and clothes.

In Pelletier’s Despina residency project, a more documentary approach was developed in which he often combined interviews with the portraiture. The project was to portray the cultural resistance to the political far-right movement and the possibilities of interactions among local communities. Portraits of activists, artists, intellectuals and people on the street were combined with dialogues on the environment, the rights of the individual, LBGTQ issues, and the protection of the indigenous Amazon communities.

Middle Insert Image: Adrien Pelletier, “Andreas à Athènes”, 2021, Paris, Gouache on Paper, 15 x 20 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Adrien Pelletier, “Mathias”, 2022, “To Paint is to Love Again” Series, Paris, Acrylic on Canvas, 75 x 50 cm

André Durand

Paintings by André Durand

Born in Ottawa, Ontario in 1947, André Durand is a Canadian photographer and painter of Irish ancestry who works within the European Hermetic tradition. At the age of seventeen, he left Canada with his wife Ludmilla to emigrate to Europe. Through its history, Hermeticism was closely associated with the idea of a primeval, divine wisdom that was revealed to ancient sages. Hermeticism remains influential within esoteric Christianity, particularly in the  Christian mystical tradition of Maartinism. The anonymously written 1967 French tome “Meditations on the Tarot”, later edited and published by Robert Powell in 1980, summarizes the theory and practices of Christian Hermeticism.

Best known for his allegorical portraits of such figures as Princess Diane, Durand’s mythologically inspired paintings are the foundation of his work. These pieces display his deep understanding of the rituals and myths of both Christian and Classical traditions. Influenced by Michelangelo, Rubens and Titian, Durand tries to unite his religion with his art; however, he approaches the subject with the objective and philosophical criteria of a Neo-modernist. 

In 1970 André Durand painted a series of images inspired by the dancers of the British Royal Ballet. His 1972 portrait of Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen, whose work often bears heavily on the psychology of its characters, is housed in London’s National Portrait Gallery. Durand  has also received international acclaim for his official portraits of Pope John Paul II and the fourteenth Dalai Lama.

In 2000, Durand became artist in residence at London’s Kingston Upon Thames University. A major exhibition in 2006, entitled “Durand Wholly Pictures” and which covered six years of work, was displayed in churches and cathedrals in the county of Sussex. These works depicted devotional Christian narratives set in traditional  Sussex landscapes. In November of 2007, André Durand produced his oil on linen “Daniel in the Lions’ Den”; the sale of the painting and its limited edition prints benefited the Demelza Hospice Care for Children, a charity in Kent that provides support to life-limited children and their families.

After his return to Italy, André Durand visited the commune of Torre del Greco in Naples and the coastal town of Sperlonga, known for its sculptures and Roman sea grotto at the Villa of Tiberius. At the invitation of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Sperlonga, he opened a studio at the museum as artist in residence for two years. From 2010 to 2012, Durand began a series of round formal paintings on the subject of the Stations of the Resurrection, many of which contain the Grotto of Tiberius in the background.

Durand published several art photography volumes of his work in 2012. Most notable among them is the “Fotograf ando Statue per Anno”, an image collection of the statuary in Sperlonga’s National Archeological Museum. Containing text co-written by the museum’s director Marisa de’Spagnolls, this volume of sculptural work is the only comprehensive photographic archive of the museum’s collection. 

André Durand’s work has been featured in many solo exhibitions in Italy and England. These include, among others, “Frammenti Classici” in 1995 at London’s Archeus Fine Art; the 2000 “Soggetti Italianizzati” at the Galleria Albemarle in London; and “Via Lucis e Lagrime di San Pietro” at Galleria Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Durand’s work is in many private collections and the permanent collections of the Scottish National Gallery and London’s National Portrait Gallery. He currently lives and works in Sperlonga, Italy.

Images of André Durand’s work, a manifesto on Neo-modernism, enquiries for commissions, and contact information can be found at the artist’s site: http://andredurandportraits.com

Second Insert Image: André Durand, “Saint Christopher Cynocephalus”, 2010, “Sacred” Series, Oil on Linen, 167.5 x 112 cm

Third Insert Image: André Durand, “Narcissus”, 2001, “Mythology” Series, Oil on Linen, 61 x 48 cm, Private Collection, Rome

Bottom Insert Image: André Durand, “Giordano Bruno Burning”, 2000, “Profane” Series, Oil on Linen, 203.2 x 167.6 cm

Burgess (Jess) Franklin Collins

The Artwork of Jess Collins

Born in Long Beach, California in August of 1923, Burgess (Jess) Franklin Collins was an American visual artist best known for his elaborate collages that addressed science, mysticism, sexuality, history and popular culture. In his early years, he read books which ranged from Proust to L. Frank Baum, listened to classical music, and constructed scrapbooks with a great aunt. 

In 1942, Jess Collins entered the California Institute of Technology to study chemistry; however with the start of World War II, he was drafted in 1943 into the Army Corps of Engineers.  Collins worked in a junior position at the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the production of plutonium for atomic bombs until 1946. Upon his release from military service, he continued his education at California Institute and graduated with honors in the field of radiochemistry. Collins was given a position at the Hanford Atomic Energy Project located on the Columbia River in the state of Washington.

During his employment at the Hanford site, Jess Collins began adult education classes to study painting. Due to his growing concerns about the nature of his work in the atomic energy sector and the future of the industry, he left his position and decided to pursue a full-time career in the arts. Collins moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began to study art: first at the University of California at Berkeley and later at the California School of Fine Arts. Due to an estrangement with his family, Collins changed his name during this period of study to the singular Jess.

At the California School of Fine Arts, Jess studied with visual artist Elmer Bischoff, a forerunner of Abstract Expressionism in the Bay Area; abstractionist painter Edward Corbett, known for his use of the color black in his work; painter Hassel Smith, whose work went through a succession of art forms from plein air to figurative expressionism; and Clyfford Still, whose work encompassed a wide range of materials. Jess quickly became a member of the 1950s San Francisco art scene and was actively engaged in exhibitions, poetry readings and other creative activities in the area. 

In 1951, Jess met poet Robert Duncan, a member of the Black Mountain College and one of the most influential post-war American poets. They began a lifelong romantic relationship that evolved into a domestic household and an artistic collaboration that became central to the development of their art and poetry. This relationship lasted until Duncan’s death in 1968, thirty-seven years later. Along with abstract expressionist Harry Jacobus, Jess and Duncan opened the King Ubu Gallery in 1952, a venue which became an important exhibition space for alternative art in San Francisco.

Inspired by a gift from Duncan of “ Une Semaine de Bonté”, Max Ernst’s surrealist collage book, Jess began making collages, or Paste-Ups, in the early 1950s. These works, which combined text and image fragments from engravings, photographs, jigsaw pieces, and comic strips, became increasingly more complex over time. Eventually the Paste-Ups would contain thousands of distinct pieces. In 1959, Jess began a series of thirty-two works, entitled “Translation”. Each of the works were painted, enlarged reproductions of found images, such as children’s book illustrations and scientific drawings from old Scientific American periodicals, After being copied on new canvases, the paintings were combined with literary texts from such authors as William Blake, Gertrude Stein, and Plato.

The “Scavenger” series was based on painted or repainted canvases found in  thrift shops. Thick layers of paint were applied covering parts of the former works while leaving other image areas exposed for viewing. Built in layers, the thick new paint reinterpreted the existing work with its added texture and images. The 1959 “Narkossos” began as a pencil drawing for a painting that was based on the myth of Narcissus. This initial drawing became a large scale mixed-media work of graphite rendering and paste-up fragments featuring references from literary and popular culture. This large-scale work with original artist’s frame is currently housed in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 

For the remainder of his life, Jess lived and worked in San Francisco except for a period of travel with Duncan in the mid-1950s to Europe and the Black Mountain College. The couple entertained their extensive but intimate circle of friends at their large Victorian home in the Mission District. The household was filled with artworks by Jess and their many friends, Duncan’s vast library, the couple’s recorded music collection, and many beautiful domestic objects salvaged by Jess from thrift shops. Jess had a major retrospective of his work in 1993-1994 which toured museums in San Francisco, Buffalo, and Washington, DC. 

Jess died of natural causes at his San Francisco home on the second of January in 2004 at the age of eighty. His work appears in major museum collections around the country including: the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. and the Museum of Modern Art and the Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco. His work is now represented by the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York City.

Note: The Jess Collins Trust established an archive for Jess’s papers and writings in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. The Trust, which contains images of Jess’s work, exhibition and event information, and information on Robert Duncan’s work, can be found at: https://jesscollins.org

Top Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Jess, Berkeley, California”, 1956-57, Gelatin Silver Print

Second Insert Image: Helen Adam, “Jess Collins, Beach Near Pidgeon Point”, Date Unknown

Third Insert Image: Jess Collins, “Untitled (Car and Male Nude), Date Unknown, Collage, 30.5 x 20.3 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Photographer Unknown, “Jess Collins and Robert Duncan, Stinson Beach”, 1958-59

Niels Smits Van Burgst

Paintings by Niels Smits Van Burgst

Born in Maassluis, The Netherlands in 1970, Niels Smits Van Burgst is a figurative painter whose work reveals moments of his personal life experiences and those shared with close friends and acquaintances. He currently lives in Rotterdam where he works in a large studio near the Sparta Stadium.

Niels Smits Van Burgst attended the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hage where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1993 and his Masters Degree in 1994. He committed himself in 1994 to depicting the experience of life awareness in his paintings. Initially he concentrated on painting private and personal experiences; over time, he gradually extended his work to include friends and people casually met through the course of life. 

The main emphasis of Van Burgst’s work is to show an identity, an understanding of what it means to be alive in Western society. His paintings, with their broad brushstrokes and cool palettes, provide the memories for their subjects’ life experiences. In many of Van Brugst’s works, he presents images of men existing in a civilized world where their excesses, such as lust, aggression and euphoria, are personally suppressed. In society, however, excesses are still experienced by individuals through sylized media channels such as television, the internet, and film.

Niels Smits Van Burgst’s  paintings have been exhibited in New York, Berlin, Amterdam, Brussels, and many more cities across Europe. A retrospective of his work was held in 2013 at the Museum ‘de Buitenplaats in Eelde, Netherlands. Van Burgst won the Van Ommeren de Voogd Foundation Prize for Fine Art in 2007 and the Aku in 2011. His paintings are in collections both private and public.

Niels Smits Van Burgst is represented by “De Twee Pauwen Gallery in The Hage.

Complete collections of Niels Van Burgst’s work, including contact information, can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/nielsSvanB and https://www.instagram.com/niels_smits_van_burgst/

Middle Insert Image: Niels Smits van Burgst, “De Schilderkunst (The Art of Painting)”, 2003, Oil on Wood, 30 x 22 cm