There are many painters that inspire me on various levels. However, there are only a select few that I gravitate to on a personal level beyond the aesthetic value of the painted image. Most painters in this category are painters whose work is immersed in human pathos..the universal. These are painters whose painted image reflects the mundane...their immediate environment; their personal lives, joys , triumphs, pain and sorrow. Such work is not driven by the decorative or the trivial, but by attempts to find and reveal truth. The following painters are among the few that illicit sympathy through their painted image.
Grace Hartigan, 1922 - 2008, began as an abstract expressionist painter later to create her own path driven by her own genius. Her direct approach to painting , her fearless willingness to destroy a work in order to discover a new place is one that I subscribe to. I was fortunate to befriend this wonderful, master painter. I am greatly indebted to her. .
Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes, 1746 – 1828, is unquestionably a master. He was a Romantic...a painter and printmaker. His life and work, his painted image are one. I have great respect, admiration..and love.. for this genius , this man. His painted image does not require words to explain for they whisper , speak, scream and cry all on their own.
Chaim Soutine, 1893-1943, is a painter's painter. A master by any definition. His work is raw and direct. His work is magic emanating from within his soul. He is an artist, a creator ; the direct opposite of Jeff Koons and his contemporaries.
Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes
"The act of painting is about one heart telling another heart where he found salvation. "
Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes
Saturn Devouring Son Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes
"Now as before it is the vulgar and the vital and the possibility of its transformation into the beautiful which continues to challenge and fascinate me ... Or perhaps the subject of my art is like the definition of humor — emotional pain remembered in tranquillity."
"Somehow, in painting I try to make some logic out of the world that has been given to me in chaos. I have a very pretentious idea that I want to make life, I want to make sense out of it. The fact that I am doomed to failure — that doesn't deter me in the least."
Pallas Athena--Earth, 1961 Grace Hartigan
Crowning of the Poet Grace Hartigan
'Once I saw the village butcher slice the neck of a bird and drain the blood out of it. I wanted to cry out, but his joyful expression caught the sound in my throat. This cry, I always feel it there. When, as a child, I drew a crude portrait of my professor, I tried to rid myself of this cry, but in vain. When I painted the beef carcass it was still this cry that I wanted to paint it. Soutine, quoted in M. Tuchman, E. Dunow and K. Perls, Chaïm Soutine
Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa or simply Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a master French painter, printmaker, draughtsman, and illustrator...a genius.
A long time ago when I was just a boy growiing up in a farming community, I saw the movie Moulin Rouge starring José Ferrer as Toulouse-Lautrec. It was a life-changing experience. I was captivated. It was love at first sight.
I fell in love with this man with who he was and what he did. He was part of a seedy bohemian sub-culture fecund with drunks, prostitutes and beauty. He created masterpieces from it all.