R. H. Quaytman awarded the 2016 Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize

R. H. QUAYTMAN Morning, Chapter 30, 2016 2 parts: 1. Oil, egg tempera, silkscreen ink, gesso on wood 37 1/16 x 37 1/16 x 1 1/4 inches (94.1 x 94.1 x 3.18 cm) [RQ1887.16] 2. Gouache, silkscreen ink, gesso on wood 32 3/8 x 20 x 3/4 inches (82.25 x 50.8 x 1.9 cm) [RQ1908.16] Overall dimensions: 38 1/16 x 37 1/16 x 3 inches (96.68 x 94.1 x 7.62 cm)

R. H. QUAYTMAN
Morning, Chapter 30, 2016
2 parts:
1. Oil, egg tempera, silkscreen ink, gesso on wood
37 1/16 x 37 1/16 x 1 1/4 inches (94.1 x 94.1 x 3.18 cm)
[RQ1887.16]
2. Gouache, silkscreen ink, gesso on wood
32 3/8 x 20 x 3/4 inches (82.25 x 50.8 x 1.9 cm)
[RQ1908.16]
Overall dimensions:
38 1/16 x 37 1/16 x 3 inches (96.68 x 94.1 x 7.62 cm)

(NEW YORK, NY) DECEMBER 12, 2016 — Robert De Niro Jr. announced the winner of the 2016 Robert De Niro Sr. Prize, which focuses on a mid-career American artist devoted to the pursuit of excellence and innovation in painting. Award winner R.H. Quaytman will receive this year’s $25,000 prize administered by Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) for her considerable contribution to the field of painting. R.H. Quaytman is the sixth recipient of the merit-based prize, which pays tribute to the work and legacy of accomplished painter Robert De Niro Sr.

Robert De Niro Sr. was part of the celebrated New York School of post-war American artists. In his honor, this award was created by his son and TFI Co-Founder Robert De Niro to support the next generation of American painters.  The Robert De Niro Sr. Prize is among the first of its kind to celebrate and shine a light on influential mid-career artists. Stanley Whitney received the inaugural award in 2011, Joyce Pensato in 2012, Catherine Murphy in 2013, Robert Bordo in 2014, and Laura Owens in 2015.

A selection committee of distinguished individuals in the art world was appointed to nominate candidates and select the prize recipient. It included: Kelly Baum, Curator of Postwar and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy & Steve Crown Family Chief Curator at the Whitney; Katherine Brinson, Curator, Contemporary Art.
 
“Rebecca Quaytman makes some of the smartest, most intriguing paintings in the United States,” stated Baum. “The work she has produced since 2001, which is conceived as a series of chapters, each one based on extensive research, brilliantly triangulates form, content, and structure. It also addresses self-consciously the conditions of its own reception in time and space, just as it considers explicitly the nature of painting and perception today. We wanted to recognize the importance of Quaytman’s work to the history of American painting as well as the crucial role Quaytman played as director of Orchard between 2005 and 2008.”

Brinson continued “R. H. Quaytman's incisive practice explores the critical agency of painting today. Drawing on diverse visual sources and conceptual references, her works cohere into a nuanced meditation on the layered, relational, and highly perspectival interpretive possibilities offered by the painted image.”

Rothkopf added, "The conceptual rigor of Quaytman's work is matched by a surprising emotional sensitivity and timbre.  Her paintings eloquently evoke a poetic sensibility and range of moods that can feel almost expressionistic despite their often mechanical and mediated means."

R.H. Quaytman (b. 1961, Boston, Massachusetts) lives and works in New York, NY. She graduated from Bard college in 1983.

Quaytman is best known for her paintings on wood panels that incorporate photography, digital technologies, and printmaking techniques that are the result of extensive research precipitated by the historical, architectural or social aspects of particular sites. Although each painting can stand alone, they are created in a series and are labeled as “chapters,” showing the successive nature of her work. Quaytman was the recipient of the Rome Prize in 1991, and has since been featured in numerous solo exhibitions, including the Queens Museum in 2001, Miguel Abreu gallery in 2008, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2010,. Her work was prominently featured in the 2010 Whitney Biennale and has been collected by the Whitney, New York, MoMA, New York, Guggenheim, New York, and the Tate Modern, London. In 2006 she joined the faculty as a professor in painting in the Masters of Fine Arts program at her alma mater, Bard college.

About Robert De Niro Sr.
De Niro Sr.’s work blended abstract and expressionist styles of painting with traditional representational subject matter, bridging the divide between European Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. He studied at the renowned Black Mountain College with Josef Albers, and later with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown and New York. He went on to exhibit at Peggy Guggenheim’s renowned museum/gallery, Art of this Century in 1945 and 1946, as well as at galleries throughout the U.S. during his career. In 2010, a retrospective exhibition of his work was presented at the Musée Matisse in Nice, France. De Niro Sr.’s work is found in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others. His life and work was chronicled in Remembering The Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr., a documentary aired on HBO in June, 2014. The Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. is represented by DC Moore Gallery, New York, and is advised by Megan Fox Kelly. The prize is funded by Robert De Niro.

For more information on the Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. visit http://www.robertdenirosr.com/

AboutTribeca Film Institute (http://www.tribecafilminstitute.org)
Tribeca Film Institute champions storytellers to be catalysts for change in their communities and around the world. Each year, we identify a diverse group of exceptional filmmakers and media artists and empower them with funding and resources to fully realize their stories and connect with audiences. Further, our education programs empower students through hands-on training and exposure to socially relevant films, offering young people the media skills necessary to be creative and productive global citizens. We are a year-round nonprofit organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001.

Laura Owens awarded the 2015 Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize

Robert De Niro presents artist Laura Owens with the 2015 Robert De Niro, Sr. prize.

Robert De Niro presents artist Laura Owens with the 2015 Robert De Niro, Sr. prize.

(NEW YORK, NY) — The winner of the 2015 Robert De Niro, Sr. prize has been awarded to mid-career American artist, Laura Owens, who has proven her significance and innovation in the field of painting.  Owens will receive this year’s $25,000 prize administered by the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and she will become the fifth recipient of the merit-based prize, which also pays tribute to the work and legacy of accomplished painter Robert De Niro, Sr.

Robert De Niro Sr. was part of the celebrated New York School of post-war American artists. In his honor, this award was created by his son and TFI Founder Robert De Niro to support the next generation of artistic achievements. Stanley Whitney received the inaugural award in 2011, Joyce Pensato in 2012, Catherine Murphy in 2013 and Robert Bordo in 2014. The Robert De Niro Sr. Prize is among the first of its kind to celebrate and shine a light on influential mid-career artists.

A committee of six prominent individuals in the art world were chosen to nominate candidates and determine the prize recipient. It included: Peter Brant, President of The Brant, Foundation, Inc, Philanthropist and collector; Kelly Baum, Curator of Postwar and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Sarah Hanson, Editorial Director at Paddle8; Richard Flood, Chief Curator at the New Museum; Leah Dickerman, Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art. 

Laura Owens (b. 1970, Euclid, Ohio) lives and works in Los Angeles. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the California Institute of Arts. Owen’s paintings first attracted attention in the late 1990s. In 2003 she became the youngest artist ever to be honored with a retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Most recently, Owens’ paintings and handmade artists’ books were exhibited at Capitain Petzel, Berlin, Germany; Secession, Vienna; and Zona Maco, Mexico, D.F. Her work will be shown at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art in Spring 2016. 

Owens is known for her large format paintings and a specific visual idiom inspired by references to art history, borrowings from popular and vernacular culture, and the visual traditions of non-Western cultures. She teaches at the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. Since 2012 she has operated the exhibition space 356 S Mission in Los Angeles in collaboration with Gavin Brown and Wendy Yao. Owen’s is represented by Gavin Brown Enterprise, Sadie Coles Headquarters, and Galerie Gisela Capitain.

Robert Bordo awarded 2014 Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize

Robert Bordo DWI, 2012, oil on canvas 45X55 inches Image courtesy of the artist

Robert Bordo
DWI, 2012,
oil on canvas
45X55 inches
Image courtesy of the artist

The Estate of Robert De Niro Sr. is pleased to announce the recipient of the Robert De Niro Sr. Prize, which recognizes a mid-career American artist devoted to the pursuit of excellence and innovation in painting. Award winner Robert Bordo, will receive this year’s $25,000 prize, for his considerable contribution to the field of painting. Bordo is the fourth recipient of the merit-based prize, which also pays tribute to the work and legacy of accomplished painter Robert De Niro Sr.

A selection committee of distinguished art profesionals was appointed to nominate candidates and select the prize recipient: Richard Flood, Director of Special Projects and Curator at Large at the New Museum; Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem and Lindsay Pollock, Editor-in-chief of Art in America Magazine.

Richard Flood praises his work, saying “Robert Bordo’s palette is unique. The colors are poured into paintings that hover calmly between the representational and the abstract, refusing to relax into either genre. If beauty and unease are polar extremes in Bordo’s work, there is also humor mostly directed at his profession and the world in which it is practiced.” Lindsay Pollock commented, “Robert Bordo is the epitome of a dedicated painter. His works often appear abstract but are not. Unlike much painting today, there is no spectacle or decorative flourish in his works. They reveal a serious investigation of pictorial space and what paint can do. His longtime role as a teacher at Cooper Union also underscores his commitment to painting.”

On announcing this year’s recipient, Robert De Niro said, “This is the fourth year we’ve honored the legacy of my father and his outstanding work as an artist with the Robert De Niro Sr. Prize. This year, I’m so pleased to award artist, leader and teacher Robert Bordo, whose achievements in painting have continued to drive innovation in the art world.”

This month Bordo was honored at an intimate award ceremony. He was joined by previous award winners, Stanley Whitney and Joyce Pensato, who celebrated his contributions to the field of painting and his unwavering dedication to education in the arts. Upon receiving the prize Bordo spoke about briefly meeting Robert De Niro Sr. during the 1970s while studying at the New York Studio School in New York City where De Niro was teaching at the time. Today, Bordo shares De Niro’s passion for teaching, as Associate Professor of Art and a teacher in the painting program at The Cooper Union.

Bordo’s most recent one-person exhibition was Drawing Installation held at The Suburban in Oak Park, Illinois (2014); he was included in New Paintings at Alexander and Bonin Gallery in New York (2014). Bordo has been the recipient of many prestigious fellowships and grants including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2007, the Canada Council Arts Grant, the Tesuque Foundation Arts Fellowship Award, the MacDowell Colony Fellowship and a Painting Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

In 2003, Bordo was a visiting critic at the Glasgow School of Art and at the Yale University MFA program. In 2007, he was a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome. Bordo also collaborated with choreographer, Mark Morris to design sets and costumes for Dido and Aeneas, which was performed in Brussels (1989), at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (1998) and as part of the ‘Mostly Mozart’ Festival at Lincoln Center (2013).

Mr. Bordo’s work is currently on view at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City as part of the exhibit, "12 Painters: The Studio School, 1974-2014," through January 17th.

American Embassy in Rome and Rome Film Festival present European premiere of film "Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr."

Robert De Niro, Megan Fox Kelly, Perri Peltz, at 2014 Rome Film Festival Photograph: Matteo Nardone

Robert De Niro, Megan Fox Kelly, Perri Peltz, at 2014 Rome Film Festival

Photograph: Matteo Nardone

Monday November 17, 2014 -- The HBO documentary, Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro Sr. debuted in Europe at the Rome Film Festival. The Fondazione Cinema per Roma and the MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts organized, in collaboration with Mazda and with the kind concession of HBO and Italian Sky Arte HD channel, a screening of the documentary by Perri Peltz and Geeta Gandbhir, dedicated to the life and work of Robert De Niro Senior, American painter, poet, and sculptor of Italian origin, and father of the great actor Robert De Niro. After the film, Italian film critic, and Rome Film Festival senior programmer Mario Sesti moderated a panel discussion with the artist’s son Robert De Niro. 

In honor of the European premiere of the documentary, United States Ambassador to Italy John Phillips and his wife Linda Douglass hosted a screening of the film at Villa Taverna, the U.S. Ambassador’s residence. The event was attending by Robert De Niro, HBO filmmakers, art advisor Megan Fox Kelly, art industry professionals and other distinguished guests.Thanks to Ambassador Phillips and his wife’s hospitality guests were also able to view two of De Niro Sr.’s paintings,Woman Seated in a Green Chair (1966) and Women of Algiers (1968) currently on view at the residence. 

The paintings on view are both stunning examples of De Niro’s energetic compositions. Together they exhibit De Niro’s dramatic use of color and form, as well as help to showcase his admiration for European art. While attending Hans Hofmann’s school in the 1940s, De Niro was heavily influenced by his teacher’s appreciation for the European masters. Throughout his career, De Niro avidly visited museums and collected books about European painters. De Niro’s personal library included books on Leonardo, Bonnard, Ingres, Picasso, Michelangelo and texts he used to teach himself French. In De Niro’s portraits, such as Woman Seated in a Green Chair (1966), there is a strong presence of Matisse and Cezanne’s powerful black lines and vibrant colors. While the posed women in the center of the canvas recalls the tradition of classical portraiture, De Niro’s sweeping brushstrokes and fluid shapes place him in dialogue with the European modernists. 

While in Paris during the early 1960s, he visited France’s great art establishments, including the Louvre, and continued to learn more about the continent’s celebrated artists. De Niro’s adoration for the paintings by these European masters is clearest in his rendition of many of their signature works. Throughout the 1960s, De Niro painted his interpretation of many of the paintings located in French museum collections, including Gustave Courbet’s Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet (1845), El Greco’s Christ on the Cross Adored by Two Donors (circa 1590) and Eugène Delacroix’s The Women of Algiers (In Their Apartment) (1834). His Women of Algiers painting from 1968 conveys De Niro’s ability to render these compositions his own. Similar to Delacroix painting concubines sit in a dimly light harem; however, using bold outlines to create geometric shapes, De Niro renders the women in a purely modern aesthetic. While his rich earth maintains the sensuality of Delacroix’s composition, De Niro’s energetic brushstrokes bring a new sense of mystery to the painting. Throughout his career, De Niro’s admiration for the great European painters remained one of his strongest influences.

De Niro Sr.’s paintings on loan to the American Embassy in Rome were placed by the Art in Embassies Program, which promotes the cultural identity of America’s art and artists by borrowing original works of art by U.S. citizens for display in approximately 180 U.S. embassy residences worldwide. These exhibitions of art are loaned from galleries, museums, individual artists, and corporate and private collections. Each exhibition is developed collaboratively between a United States ambassador and one of AIEP’s curators. For five decades, Art inEmbassies (AIE) has played a leading role in U.S. public diplomacy through a very focused mission of vital cross-cultural dialogue and understanding through the visual arts and dynamic artist exchange. The Museum of Modern Art first envisioned this global visual arts program in 1953, and President John F. Kennedy formalized it at the U.S. Department of State in 1963. Today, AIE is a public-private partnership engaging over 20,000 participants globally, including artists, museums, galleries, universities, and private collectors, and encompasses over 200 venues in 189 countries. Professional curators and registrars create and ship about 60 exhibitions per year, and since 2000, over 58 permanent collections have been installed in the Department’ s diplomatic facilities throughout the world.

Provincetown Arts Center honors Robert De Niro and Robert De Niro, Sr.

Author Ann Patchett talks with Robert De Niro at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Annual Awards Celebration, July 12, 2014. Photograph: Lauren Ewing

Author Ann Patchett talks with Robert De Niro at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Annual Awards Celebration, July 12, 2014.

Photograph: Lauren Ewing

On July 12, 2014, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts honored Robert De Niro Sr., his son actor Robert De Niro Jr., and award-winning author Ann Patchett at their 5th Annual Summer Awards Celebration. At an evening ceremony, the honorees were recognized for their passionate creativity and distinguished achievement in arts and letters. In addition, the Fine Arts Work Center celebrated Robert De Niro Sr.’s enduring relationship with the town of Provincetown and exceptional achievements in the arts with a screening of HBO’s documentary Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro Sr. and a stunning exhibition of the artist’s work.

The Fine Arts Work Center was founded in 1968 with the vision of providing time and space to emerging visual artists and writers through residency programs in Provincetown, MA. Located on the site of the historic Days Lumberyard Fine Arts Work Center, which housed the studios of Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler, and others, the center offers an open-enrollment summer workshop program in visual arts and creative writing featuring award-winning faculty. 

During an intimate reception, Robert De Niro Jr. performed double duty, giving an acceptance speech for his award and on behalf of his late father. In a heartfelt speech, De Niro praised the center for their unwavering commitment to the arts. He said, “The Fine Arts Works Center understands, you created a community where cloistered artists mix with local people of taste, sensitivity and generosity. It may take a generation or more for many artists to get the world’s recognition, some never will, but thanks to you there is a place where their work is recognized and appreciated now. In memory of my father, the man and the artist, I thank you for that.” 

The Fine Arts Work Center exhibition of Robert De Niro Sr.’s art is beautiful, symbolic and fitting tribute to an artist who began his career in the Days Lumberyard. The opening of “Robert De Niro, Sr. (1922-1993): Selected Works,” coincided with the center’s award ceremony and is on view at the Hudson D. Walker Gallery until August 3, 2014. The exhibition, curated by art advisor Megan Fox Kelly, includes a distinguish collection of 20 drawings and paintings that span his prolific career.  

The town of Provincetown holds a special significance in the artist’s life and career. 

In 1939 Robert De Niro first traveled to Provincetown to attend Hans Hofmann’s prestigious summer school. While De Niro studied at his school until 1942, he continued to visit Provincetown throughout his life and capture the town’s charm in many of his finest paintings. 

For De Niro, Provincetown and Hofmann’s summer school was a place of adventure, friendship and profound artistic growth. Inspired by Hofmann's rich knowledge of art history and strong emphasis on color, under his tutelage De Niro fearlessly pushed the boundaries of representation toward abstraction. In his Provincetown classes, Hofmann’s student explored volume and space by creating charcoal cubist drawings of the figure. Cubist Figure, one of only a few surviving drawings from his time at Hofmann’s school, is included in the Fine Art Works Center exhibition. 

Encouraged by Hofmann, De Niro learned to rely on his instincts to create unique compositions that exploited the powerful tension between line and color, subject matter and abstraction. As a result, his subsequent charcoals are infused with a greater degree of pulsating energy, De Niro’s vivid lines and soft areas of furiously applied charcoal. Following his time in Provincetown, De Niro continued to create electrifying landscapes and interior scenes, whose floating planes of exhilarating color, harnessed within thick outlines, recalled Hofmann’s stunning paintings from the early 1940s. 

Provincetown will always be part of De Niro’s legacy and a pivotal moment in the development of his enduring artistic style. Robert De Niro Sr. would agree that is an amazing honor to be recognized by such wonderful organization committed to injecting energy into Provincetown’s creative legacy.

Aspen Ideas Festival hosts film Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr.

On stage at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival are (left to right) Perri Peltz, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Megan Fox Kelly.   

On stage at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival are (left to right) Perri Peltz, Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Megan Fox Kelly. 

 

On June 28, 2014, the HBO Documentary film, “Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr.” was presented at The Aspen Ideas Festival. Produced by the prestigious The Aspen Institute, The Aspen Ideas Festival is the nation's premiere public gathering place for leaders from around the globe to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times. Some 350 presenters, 200 sessions, and 3000 attendees comprise the annual Festival, launched in 2005, on the Aspen Institute's campus in Aspen, Colorado.

Every year the festival brings together the most inspired and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers, and other leaders from a myriad of fields to teach and engage with visitors and participants. Following the screening of “Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr.,” Director Perri Peltz, art advisor Megan Fox Kelly, CEO of Tribeca Enterprises Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro, conducted an informative question and answer session. The panel fielded questions from industry professionals, scholars and fans of Robert De Niro Sr.’s art. 

As a member of the renowned New York school of post-war American artists, Robert De Niro Sr. is celebrated for his vibrant paintings that synthesized traditional subject matter with modernist abstraction, bridging the gap between European modernism and Abstract Expressionism. As the political and cultural climate in America continued to shift in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the art world embraced Abstract Expressionism and the emergence of Pop Art. Figurative expressionist painters, like De Niro, were marginalized to the outskirts of the commercial art world. Although De Niro's primary period of commercial and critical success was brief, he remained well known and respected within the art world throughout his career.

While answering questions from the audience, the entire panel emphasized their dedication to preserving Robert De Niro Sr.’s artwork and his legacy as an important American artist. Mrs. Kelly said, "I think what he wanted was what any artist wants, which is to be seen. To be seen as a person and to have his art be seen and maybe even to be understood and to be known. I don't know that that really happened for him but it's part of our ongoing work to continue to show his work in galleries and museums." 

Robert De Niro explained to the audience that this project initially began as a documentary for his family archives and close friends; however, he realized the importance of sharing his father’s art with the world. To create the film, De Niro obtained film footage of his dad from a man who followed the artist with a camera in the 1970s and gave the material to Thelma Schoonmaker — Martin Scorsese’s longtime editor — who helped to put it in order. He also lent his father’s personal journals to Peltz and Rosenthal, which he reads from on camera. 

For the future, De Niro hopes that his father’s paintings will continue to be shown in museums and galleries around the world and collected by individuals who will preserve his legacy. He said, “I want them to be cherished the way he cherished them and I cherish them.”

For more information about “Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr.” and the watch the film on HBO Go visit: http://www.hbo.com/documentaries/remembering-the-artist-robert-de-niro-sr#/

HBO Documentary Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr. debuts June 9, 2014

For more information about the film, visit www.rememberingtheartist.com

For more information about the film, visit www.rememberingtheartist.com

HBO Documentary Films presents
Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr. 
Film debuts Monday, June 9th at 9:00 pm on HBO.


REMEMBERING THE ARTIST is a deeply moving portrait of the painter told by art experts, the artists who worked alongside him, by De Niro Sr. himself via found footage interviews, and most affectingly by his son, the actor Robert De Niro, Jr.  De Niro, Jr. reads from his father’s letters and journals and provides his own moving recollections of his father’s personal and professional struggles, as part of his own mission to honor and preserve his father’s legacy and artwork.   

REMEMBERING THE ARTIST was directed by Perri Peltz and Geeta Gandbhir and produced by Perri Peltz.  Rudy Valdez served as director of photography and Geeta Gandbhir served as editor.  Megan Fox Kelly served as Art Advisor.  Music is by Phillip Glass. 

Watch trailer here:

DC Moore Gallery exhibition: Paintings and Drawings from 1948-1984

Robert De Niro, Sr. Paintings and Drawings 1948-1984, DC Moore Gallery, June 6-July 11, 2014

Robert De Niro, Sr. Paintings and Drawings 1948-1984, DC Moore Gallery, June 6-July 11, 2014

Exhibition at DC Moore Gallery, opens Friday, June 6, 2014 from 5-7 pm.

By the early 1950s, Robert De Niro, Sr. (1922-1993) had arrived at his boldly expressive mode of painting. Through strong color and reductive shapes, he merged aspects of abstraction and representation in figure paintings, still lifes, and landscapes. DC Moore Gallery will present an exhibition of his vibrant art, featuring paintings and drawings from 1955-1993. A catalogue with an essay by Robert Kushner will be available.

For more information, visit www.dcmooregallery.com

The Birthday of Robert De Niro, Sr.

Robert De Niro, Sr., right, studying with Joseph Albers, circa 1939.

Robert De Niro, Sr., right, studying with Joseph Albers, circa 1939.

Today we celebrate the life and legacy of Robert De Niro, Sr.

On May 3, 1922, Robert De Niro, Sr. was born in Syracuse, New York, to an Italian American father, Henry Martin De Niro (1897–1976), whose parents emigrated from Ferrazzano, in the province of Campobasso, Molise, and an Irish American mother, Helen M. (née O'Reilly; 1899–1999). The eldest of three children, Robert De Niro, Sr. and siblings John and Joan were raised in Syracuse.

Showing an innate artistic ability early in life, he was provided with a private studio while attending art classes at the Syracuse Museum from age eleven to fifteen. In the summer of 1938, he studied with the artist Ralph Pearson in Gloucester Massachusetts. As an older teenager, he was a student of two of the 20th century’s leading abstract painters, Josef Albers and Hans Hofmann.  From 1939 to 1940 De Niro studied at the renowned Black Mountain College under Albers and later returned to study with Hoffman in Provincetown, Massachusetts. 

This training helped to launch his stellar career, highlights of which included his solo debut in Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This Century Gallery in 1946, regular shows alongside de Kooning, Rothko and Kline at the Charles Egan Gallery in the 50s and  later at Virginia Zabriskie's gallery, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1968, and critically acclaimed exhibitions of his work in every year of his life.

On this same date in 1993, Robert De Niro, Sr. passed away in New York City after 71 years of immensely productive and passionate dedication to his art.

Lasting legacy:

Of the recent exhibition of the paintings of Robert De Niro, Sr. at DC Moore Gallery in Manhattan in the spring of 2012, Roberta Smith of The New York Times wrote:

"...His paintings have their own touch, eloquence and integrity, as well as a bluntness of scale and brushwork...His surfaces are so lively they almost seem suspended in air.  In the expanding field of postwar American painting, more room should be made for the seductive yet rigorous art of Robert De Niro, Sr.”

 

Catherine Murphy awarded 2013 Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize

Catherine Murphy The Grass, 2011 Image courtesy of the artist and Peter Freeman Gallery, New York.

Catherine Murphy
The Grass, 2011
Image courtesy of the artist and Peter Freeman Gallery, New York.

NEW YORK – The Estate of Robert De Niro Sr. announced the winner of the Robert De Niro Sr. Prize which focuses on a mid-career American artist devoted to the pursuit of excellence and innovation in painting. Award winner Catherine Murphy will receive this year’s $25,000 prize administered by the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) for her considerable contribution to the field of painting. Murphy is the third recipient of the merit-based prize, which pays tribute to the work and legacy of accomplished painter Robert De Niro Sr.

Robert De Niro Sr. was part of the celebrated New York School of post-war American artists. In his honor, this award was created by his son and TFI Founder Robert De Niro to support the next generation of artistic achievements. Stanley Whitney received the inaugural award in 2011 and Joyce Pensato received the next year’s award in 2012. The Robert De Niro Sr. Prize is among the first of its kind to celebrate and shine a light on influential mid-career artists.

“I am honored to present Catherine Murphy with this award for her outstanding work as a painter and teacher, and to continue to honor my father as an artist through the Robert De Niro Sr. Prize,” said Robert De Niro.

A selection committee of distinguished individuals in the art world was appointed to nominate candidates and select the prize recipient. It included: Susan Davidson, Senior Curator, Collections and Exhibitions at the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York; Editor-in-Chief at Art in America magazine, Lindsay Pollock; artist, Wall Street Journal art critic, author of the novel “The Art Critic,” Peter Plagens; and art historian and scholar Robert Storr, Yale University’s Dean of the School of Art.

In praising her work, the panelists jointly stated, “Catherine is devoted to painting. She takes a long hard look and sees things that others would have missed. Her work is seemingly absolutely consistent and yet it is surprising in each individual iteration. It is very much about the process of painting.”

Currently living in Poughkeepsie, New York, Murphy studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and received a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1967, where she was also awarded an honorary doctorate degree in 2006. Murphy has also been distinguished with National Endowment for the Arts Grants (1979 and 1989), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1982) and as a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (2002). She was a Senior Critic at Yale University Graduate School of Art for 22 years and is currently the Tepper Family Endowed Chair in Visual Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers.

Catherine Murphy’s work has been the focus of museum exhibitions, from her first in 1976 to a recent exhibition at the Byrdcliffe Kleinert/James Center for the Arts in Woodstock, New York. Works by Murphy are in important private and public collections, including Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Thomas Olbricht Collection, Berlin.

Murphy’s recent paintings and drawings show a profound interest in depicting common surroundings that usually escape our notice but nevertheless influence our perception: a pile of dust or the stains found on a wall shift views usually unseen to become images that demand our full attention. Murphy does not work from photographs but, instead, directly from objects staged in her studio to recreate mental images drawn from memory and dreams. Her practice requires intense dedication to each work, a prolonged process that can take months, sometimes even years. The choice between drawing or painting is, as the artist explains, determined by the subject itself, giving painting and drawing the same importance within the artist’s oeuvre.

ABOUT ROBERT DE NIRO, SR:

De Niro Sr. was part of the celebrated New York School of post-war American artists. His work blended abstract and expressionist styles of painting with traditional representational subject matter, bridging the divide between European Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. He studied at the renowned Black Mountain College with Josef Albers, and later with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown and New York. He went on to exhibit at Peggy Guggenheim’s renowned Art of this Century gallery in 1945 and 1946, as well as at galleries throughout the U.S. during his career.

In 2010, a retrospective exhibition of his work was presented at the Musée Matisse in Nice, France. De Niro Sr.’s work is found in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Parrish Art Museum, among others. The Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. is represented by DC Moore Gallery, New York, and is advised by Megan Fox Kelly. The prize is funded by Robert De Niro.

Sundance Film Festival premiere of documentary: "Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Sr"

Studio of Robert De Niro, Sr., New York. Photograph by Rudy Valdez

Studio of Robert De Niro, Sr., New York. Photograph by Rudy Valdez

REMEMBERING THE ARTIST IS A DEEPLY PERSONAL, EXTREMELY MOVING LOOK AT THE LIFE AND CAREER OF ROBERT DE NIRO, SR. (1922-1993)

HBO Documentary Films Presentation Premieres in the Short Film Program at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival

Exhibition of De Niro, Sr.’s Artwork at the Julie Nester Gallery in Park City To Coincide with Screening

In 1945, the painter Robert De Niro, Sr.’s work was included in the Fall Exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery alongside the work of Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.  The following year, De Niro had his first solo exhibition at Guggenheim’s gallery, an extremely prestigious honor for a young painter. However, this would prove to be the highpoint of De Niro, Sr.’s public success. As his work soon fell out of step with the popular art movements of the time, De Niro struggled with poverty and desperation.

REMEMBERING THE ARTIST is a deeply moving portrait of the painter told by art experts, the artists who worked alongside him, by De Niro Sr. himself via found footage interviews, and most affectingly by his son, the actor Robert De Niro, Jr.  De Niro, Jr. reads from his father’s letters and journals and provides his own moving recollections of his father’s personal and professional struggles, as part of his own mission to honor and preserve his father’s legacy and artwork.   

At the heart of the film is the beautiful work of De Niro, Sr., which will be exhibited in Park City at the Julie Nester Gallery during the Sundance Film Festival.  These vibrant paintings remind us that art movements can be so powerful that they can obscure the work of talented artists who don’t fit the genre.  

In REMEMBERING THE ARTIST, Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale School of Art, art advisor Megan Fox Kelly, and fellow artists Albert Kresch and Paul Resika explain how De Niro, Sr.’s professional career fell in and out of step with the American art scene – a scene that change drastically in the years leading up to World War II. In the early 1930’s, avant garde European artists, under political pressure from the Nazi party, came to the U.S and took up teaching positions, exposing young American art students to the newest trends in European art.  One of the most important of these teachers was Hans Hofmann, an Abstract Expressionist who set up schools in New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts where an entire generation of young American painters studied.  De Niro, Sr. studied in Provincetown and New York with Hoffman who called him one of the most promising students he ever had.  De Niro, Sr.’s two shows at Guggenheim’s Art of This Century followed.  At a young age, he had found his artistic voice and was greatly admired by his colleagues.  He was part of the celebrated New York School of artists who were well-known during the 1940's and 50's in New York City. His paintings blended abstract and expressionist styles with a representational subject matter, bridging the divide between European Modernism and Abstract Expressionism.

De Niro Sr.’s initial success was short-lived as his work was eclipsed first by the American Abstract Expressionist painters and later by the emergence of Pop Art. As the art world embraced these new movements in the late 1950s and early 1960's, more traditional painters like De Niro were marginalized. De Niro went to Paris to immerse himself in the art of the masters and enliven his own work and career. But the art market of post-war France offered little opportunity for De Niro. He returned to the United States and continued to paint in relative obscurity until his death from prostate cancer in 1993 in his 71st birthday. He found solace writing about his hopes and dreams in his journals, hoping that one-day, his work would be re-discovered and afforded the critical acclaim that had eluded him throughout his career, even if after his death.   

REMEMBERING THE ARTIST also traces De Niro Sr.’s personal story from his childhood in Syracuse, NY where he felt misunderstood by his demanding father, to his marriage to Virginia Admiral, an up-and-coming painter herself whom he met at Hofmann’s school, to the birth of his child, Robert De Niro, Jr. in 1943.   When De Niro, Jr. was a toddler, his parents separated, likely because of De Niro, Sr.’s unacknowledged homosexuality. They would, however, always remain close.  As De Niro Jr., grew up he watched his father’s career disappointments and bouts of depression.  De Niro, Jr. movingly talks of the irony of dealing with the early days of his own success as an actor while taking trips to France to try to help his father, literally carrying paintings under his arm from art gallery to art gallery   Robert De Niro, Jr. has remained committed to honoring his father’s legacy after his death, maintaining his art studio as it was when his father worked there so that his children will appreciate their grandfather’s work.  

REMEMBERING THE ARTIST was directed by Perri Peltz and Geeta Gandbhir and produced by Perri Peltz.  Rudy Valdez served as director of photography and Geeta Gandbhir served as editor.  Megan Fox Kelly served as Art Advisor.  Music is by Phillip Glass.

For more information about the film, visit www.rememberingtheartist.com

 

Joyce Pensato awarded 2012 Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize

Joyce Pensato 2012 Batman 2012 Enamel on linen 80 x 80 inches 203.2 x 203.2 cm Signed, titled and dated verso PEN 12/006 Image courtesy of the artist and Petzel, New York.

Joyce Pensato
2012 Batman
2012
Enamel on linen
80 x 80 inches
203.2 x 203.2 cm
Signed, titled and dated verso
PEN 12/006
Image courtesy of the artist and Petzel,
New York.

NEW YORK — Joyce Pensato is the recipient of the 2012 Robert De Niro Sr. Prize, an annual award honoring an outstanding mid-career American painter. Brooklyn-based Joyce Pensato will receive the $25,000 award, administered by the Tribeca Film Institute, for her considerable contribution to the field of painting. Pensato is the second recipient of the merit-based prize, which pays tribute to the work and legacy of accomplished painter De Niro Sr. Painter Stanley Whitney received the inaugural award —among the first to celebrate and shine a light on mid-career artists—in 2011.

A selection committee of distinguished individuals in the art world was appointed to nominate candidates and select the prize recipient. Pensato was selected by a jury including Betsy Baker, former editor of Art in America Magazine; art collector and television executive Douglas Cramer, founder and former President of the Board of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and longtime Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; John Yau, poet and art critic for The Brooklyn Rail and Professor of art criticism at Rutgers University; and Robert Storr, Yale University’s Dean of the School of Art.

 

“Like my father, Joyce Pensato has truly demonstrated a lifelong commitment to her art,” said Robert De Niro. “I am proud to recognize her exceptional work and to continue to honor my father as an artist through the Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize.”

 

John Yao praises Pensato’s work saying, “The great thing about Pensato’s drawings and paintings is that they are neither overtly political nor boringly literal. Pensato is one of the few artists who didn’t find it necessary to reject her early training in order to gain her authority. If anything, she made it into something all her own, which is a strong indication of how willful and single-minded she is.”
Robert Storr added, “For all the promotional talk about artists who just go at it their own way there aren’t very many who really run that risk, and fewer still who run it year in and year out over decades. Joyce Pensato has and continues to do so. The results are full tilt, high gear, Id-driven images that freely, even piratically take from popular culture but which, when she is finished with its icons, look like nothing we’ve seen before. Pensato’s work is a jolt of manic energy of a kind we desperately need, a kind that can’t be faked and that few have the strength to muster much less the stamina to sustain.”
 

Joyce Pensato was born in Brooklyn to a Sicilian immigrant father and an Italian-American mother. In the early 1970s, she enrolled in the New York Studio School, where one of her instructors was Mercedes Matter, who founded the school in 1964. At the New York Studio School, Pensato studied with instructors who taught drawing in a way that recalled Giacometti’s emotion-laden work, and was encouraged to draw in paint. She continued to explore this foundation in drawing and painting throughout her career.
Pensato draws in charcoal and paints in enamel. For years her palette has been black, white and silver, though color is beginning to make an appearance in her recent paintings. Her drawing process is one of making marks, rubbing them out and making more marks, with line being the essential form. In her paintings, the line is made of enamel that initially appears to have been applied quickly, though its varying densities and its field of drips and splatters makes it clear that it wasn’t done in a single shot. In both drawing and painting Pensato is committed to finding the linear form that captures her subject matter, the cartoon characters and toys of contemporary American culture.
 

Pensato lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has exhibited widely, including in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; the St. Louis Art Museum; The Speed Museum of Art, Louisville; and The Cleveland Museum of Art. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; The Dallas Museum of Art; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the FRAC des Pays de la Loire, France, among others. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship; the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award; the Anonymous Was A Woman Award; and most recently the 2012 Award of Merit Medal in Painting from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She will have her first solo museum exhibition, curated by Jeffrey Uslip, at the Santa Monica Museum of Art in June of 2013. She attended the New York Studio School.
 

De Niro Sr. was part of the celebrated New York School of post-war American artists. His work blended abstract and expressionist styles of painting with traditional representational subject matter, bridging the divide between European Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. He studied at the renowned Black Mountain College with Josef Albers, and later with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown and New York. He went on to exhibit at Peggy Guggenheim’s renowned Art of this Century gallery in 1945 and 1946, as well as at galleries throughout the U.S. during his career. In 2010, a retrospective exhibition of his work was presented at the Musée Matisse in Nice, France. De Niro Sr.’s work is found in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Parrish Art Museum, among others. The Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. is represented by DC Moore Gallery, New York, and is advised by Megan Fox Kelly and Jeffrey Hoffeld. The prize is funded by Robert De Niro.
Photo: Dave Allocca

New York Times Exhibition Review

Table Still Life with Red Vases, Fan and Bowl, 1968. Oil on canvas, 30 x 34 inches

Table Still Life with Red Vases, Fan and Bowl, 1968. Oil on canvas, 30 x 34 inches

"Robert De Niro, Sr. Paintings and Drawings, 1960-1993" 

The New York Times, Arts Section, April 20, 2012:

By Roberta Smith  

In the expanding field of postwar American painting, more room should be made for the seductive yet rigorous art of Robert De Niro Sr. (1922-1993). De Niro, whose son is the movie star, studied with Josef Albers at Black Mountain Collegeand with Hans Hofmann in New York and Providence, R.I. He made his solo debut at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery in 1946 and showed regularly in the 1950s at the Charles Egan Gallery, alongside de Kooning, Rothko and Kline.

By 1960, the starting point of this exhibition, he had made abstraction the setting for a loosely figurative art, painting the thick outlines of nudes, still lifes and rooftops among briskly improvised expanses of bright color.

On first sight, De Niro’s paintings and drawings can seem overly indebted to the School of Paris. In particular, you could say that he pledged allegiance to Fauvism and Matisse and never broke his vows. But his paintings, especially, have their own touch, eloquence and integrity, as well as a bluntness of scale and brushwork that easily identifies them as postwar American.

His surfaces are so lively they almost seem suspended in air. They court a kind of excess, as suggested by the overbearing blooms of “Table Still Life With Red Vases, Fan and Bowl,” from 1968, or by the almost cryptic outlines of “Studio Interior With Three Chairs and Yellow Bureau,” of 1969.

They are slyly cartoonish, paying homage, but also exceeding and even parodying their sources. They can be connected to Roy Lichtenstein’s riffs on Matisse’s paintings and William N. Copley’s bright, folkish brand of Pop Art, as well as — a more usual analogy — the painterly figuration of David Park.

To cite another customary association, and give some indication of the upgrade that De Niro’s art deserves, I’ll take it over the fripperies of Larry Rivers any day.

Robert De Niro, Sr. exhibition at DC Moore Gallery

Robert De Niro, Sr. Paintings and Drawings 1960-1993 at DC Moore Gallery, New York. March-April, 2012

Robert De Niro, Sr. Paintings and Drawings 1960-1993 at DC Moore Gallery, New York. March-April, 2012

Robert De Niro, Sr. Paintings and Drawings 1960-1993.  For their first exhibition as the exclusive representatives of the Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr., DC Moore Gallery is presenting a dynamic group of his figure paintings, landscapes, still lifes, and charcoal drawings from 1960-1993.  

DC Moore gallery has published a fully-illustrated catalogue of the exhibition, featuring a scholarly essay about the artist’s work by independent curator, David Moos, formerly curator of contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and an expert on American post-war art.

For more information about the exhibition, or to obtain a copy of the exhibition catalogue, visit the gallery website at www.dcmooregallery.com

Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize awarded to Stanley Whitney

Stanley Whitney, recipient of the first Robert De Niro, Sr prize in 2011.

Stanley Whitney, recipient of the first Robert De Niro, Sr prize in 2011.

NEW YORK -- The Estate of Robert De Niro Sr. today announced the inaugural recipient of The Robert De Niro Sr. Prize, an annual award which honors an outstanding mid-career American painter. New York-based artist Stanley Whitney will receive the $25,000 award, administered by the Tribeca Film Institute, for his considerable contribution to the field of painting. The merit based prize--among the first to celebrate and shine a light on mid-career artists--honors the work and legacy of accomplished painter De Niro, Sr. 

A selection committee of distinguished individuals in the art world was appointed to nominate candidates and select the prize recipient. Whitney was selected by a jury including Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem; Agnes Gund, President Emerita of the Museum of Modern Art and Chairman of its International Council and Chairman of the Mayor’s Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission of the City of New York; Barry Schwabsky, art critic for The Nation; and Robert Storr, Yale University’s Dean of the School of Art.

“Stanley’s work and the way he practices his craft both show what this prize is all about—honoring a person with great passion for and lifelong commitment to art,” said Robert De Niro. “I am so proud to pay tribute to my father through this inaugural prize in his name, and to recognize and support an artist who has achieved so much throughout his career.” 

In a statement, the jury added: “For the recipient of the first Robert De Niro Sr. Prize, we have selected a painter who represents the spirit of commitment, independence, and invention that marked De Niro’s own work as an artist. Stanley Whitney proves that you can be a traditionalist without being a conservative. His concerns are those of painters from the Venetians through Delacroix to the Abstract Expressionists: color, light, and a sense of movement communicated through visual rhythm—but his painting is a continual adventure in these realms that he shows to be without limit. For many years he has worked with a consistent set of structuring devices but has used them as a basis for more than just variations on a theme, for the true structural basis of Whitney’s art is color, not shape, and he rediscovers it anew each time. It continued, “Keeping faith with the open possibilities of painting, Whitney has been not only admired by his peers but an inspiration to younger artists, both through his paintings and as a teacher. Over his nearly four decades of teaching, Whitney has not only taught young artists about the process and practice of art, but instilled in his students a deep understanding of art in its truest forms beyond the whims of fashion. We are pleased to offer the Robert De Niro Sr. Prize to an artist who so ardently interprets the sense of life through the fundamentals of painting.” 

About the Tribeca Film Institute:

The Tribeca Film Institute is a 501(c)(3) year-round nonprofit arts organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001.   TFI empowers filmmakers through grants and professional development, and is a resource for and supporter of individual artists in the field. The Institute’s educational programming leverages an extensive film community network to help underserved New York City students learn filmmaking and gain the media skills necessary to be productive citizens and creative individuals in the 21st century. Administering a dozen major programs annually, TFI is a critical contributor to the fabric of filmmaking and aids in promoting and protecting filmmakers and media artists.

Exhibition: Series and Sequences

Series and Sequences, DC Moore Gallery, March 17-April 30, 2011

Series and Sequences, DC Moore Gallery, March 17-April 30, 2011

New York, DC Moore Gallery:  A group exhibition featuring Romare Bearden, Stuart Davis, Robert De Niro, Sr., and Nathan Oliveira, through April 30, 2011. 

Series and Sequences explores the idea of variations on a theme in the work of four twentieth-century artists who used related imagery or returned to similar imagery over time. Through a select group of paintings and drawings, the exhibit reveals some of the many ways in which artists enter into a dialogue with their own work through series. Organized in conjunction with Never the Same Twice, which features the work of contemporary artists, the exhibition provides a complementary view of a long-standing artistic practice. In 1977, Romare Bearden (1911-1987) created a cycle of collages and watercolors based on episodes from Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey. In the complete set of twenty-four watercolors Bearden reinterprets Odysseus’ heroic quest by emphasizing the North African aspects of its Mediterranean setting and using imagery rooted in both classical mythology and African American culture. Bearden created these works at mid-career, perhaps reflecting on his own journey as an artist as well as the historic African American search for home.

The importance of process and of using earlier works as the basis for new compositions are key aspects of the art of Stuart Davis (1892-1964), whose ideas about jazz and improvisation in painting had a significant influence on Bearden. Drawings like those on view were central to his creative practice, just as the act of drawing was the foundation of both his art and his art theory. 

For Robert De Niro, Sr. (1922-1993), an artist who maintained a vibrant consistency in his work for over three decades, a series often meant creating three or four versions of an idea or subject almost simultaneously. The three paintings in the exhibition, all from September 1968, are radical stylizations of architecture in a suburban or small town setting, done in his signature post-Fauve palette with freely brushed areas of color defined by strong outlines. 

Nathan Oliveira (1928-2010) explored the theme of the solitary figure for over fifty years. For him, a series could derive from repeated sessions with a particular model for a brief period of time or a group of related works created over the course of several years. The nudes in the exhibition were done between 1965 and 1972. Their immediacy demonstrates that spontaneity was the essence of Oliveira’s method, resulting in bold, direct works that capture a momentary encounter between artist and model in a burst of creative energy.

Exhibition at Musée Matisse, Nice, France

Nice, France. After Seeing Matisse: Robert DeNiro, Sr. - Paintings and Drawings,through May 31, 2010.

The Musée Matisse presented an exhibition of the works of Robert De Niro, Sr. as part of its mission to promote the works of Matisse through different points of view, on this occasion, as a source of inspiration. The exhibition includes a presentation of photographs of Robert De Niro, Sr. in his New York studio along with figurative paintings, interior studies, still lifes, landscapes, and a series of the artist’s works on paper.

The relationship between the body of work of Robert De Niro, Sr. and the oeuvre of Matisse is seen in numerous works. DeNiro’s female nudes in an interior recall the manner in which Matisse placed his model on an armchair and organized the elements of décor that surround her. Yet unlike Matisse, De Niro’s palette was more muted. The treatment of color, in backgrounds or graphic lines, is organized in more abstract combinations and preserves the movement of the stroke and his improvisation. These differences serve as proof of the space created between the sources of inspiration and the personality of an artist.

In the words of Matisse:

Drawing also counts tremendously. It is the expression of the possession of objects. When you know an object profoundly, you can determine from one exterior line what will define it on the inside.1

There exists then an essential truth to draw from the sight of the objects to be represented. This is the only truth that is important.2

The object is not so interesting in and of itself. It is the context that creates the object. It was in this way that I worked all my life in front of the same objects that gave me the strength of reality by focusing my mind on all that the objects had passed through for me and with me. A glass of water with a flower is a different thing from a glass of water with a lemon. The object is an actor: a good actor can act in ten different plays, an object can play a different role on ten canvases. We don’t take it alone; it evokes a group of elements.3

In still life, copying the objects is nothing; they must be given the emotions that they awaken in one. The emotion of the group, the correlation of objects, the specific character of each object – modified by its relation with others – all that tangled up like a rope or a snake.4

The object must act powerfully on the imagination, the feeling of the artist must be expressed and render the object worthy of interest: it only says what one makes it say.5

The drawings of Matisse in charcoal and pen, like the series Thèmes et variations(1942-1943), the Grand Acrobate (1952) in brush and Chinese ink, and Arbre(Le Platane) (1951), as well as the paintings Intérieur à l’esclave (1924), Figure endormie (1941) represent Matisse’s constant research on the simplification of the line, and are a form of expression adopted in the large drawings of Robert De Niro, Sr., with the same techniques. The lines are erased along with the creation until nothing remains but the final drawing, which breaks free from the stumped surface.

In the words of Robert De Niro, Sr.:

"If I am forced to repeat, until near exhaustion, the same charcoal line over and over again or the same brushstroke while I paint, it is because I am nothing but an “old nag” who knows himself too well and who must endlessly find ways to surprise himself. Not, as many of my colleagues do, by accelerating my gestures in the hope of discovering, as if by accident, surprising bits that I might be able to use later. A comfortable technique that has proven itself, but which I was always careful to be wary of. Just as Hans Hofmann, my former professor, taught me when I was so young, I immediately erase without the least regret anything pretty or particularly good that has appeared on the canvas. That is why I am

surrounded by chamois leather or rags soaked in turpentine when I draw. More than speed, what is important is to erase, always erase, systematically. If, as Picasso assures, painting is “love made visible”, this method is for me the only way to most honestly transmit this light that belongs only to me and that can only reach the spectator once I am in the canvas and not in front of the canvas. All things

considered, the ideal would be to succeed in painting with closed eyes, like children do. This only happens very rarely, two or three times a year. If by luck, fortune chooses to smile on me."