A series of Estebanvicente’s abstract garden-inspired paintings is on view at Lewallen Galleries
Through July 15
Lewallen Galleries 1613 Paseo de Peralta Santa Fe, NM 87501 t: (505) 988-3250 www.lewallengalleries.com
In 1964, Estebanvicente (1903-2001) bought a Dutch colonial farmhouse in Bridgehampton, New York, where he and his wife Harriet would live from May through October, returning to their Manhattan home for the rest of the year.they put in a large flower garden that began just outside his studio door. Its colors and the clear light of Long Island had a great influence on his later paintings.
Harriet recalled, as quoted in Elizabeth Frank’s biography of the artist,“spain is a country of flowers growing out of rooftops, in cracks, in pots of all sorts, in tin cans, in the wild, and also quite insistently poking out of cultivated fields.the inner eye retains all of this for the future.as a child, Esteban use to lie dozing in the shade beneath his aunt’s rose bushes in Toledo.there must have been the color, the scent. But at four, Esteban was not yet ready to confess his feelings and sensations, retained and perhaps always sought later by his memory.”
Vicente came to the U.S. in 1936 after periods of painting in Barcelona, Madrid and Paris. He began to abandon his representational style and explored the avant garde, notably abstraction. He was a member of the New York School, which included colleagues and friends Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. He spent much of his career as a teacher.
His late paintings from Bridgehampton are in the exhibition Esteban Vicente:
The Garden Paintings through July 15 at Lewallen Galleries in Santa Fe,
His post-representational paintings were explorations “to find out what painting is all about,” he said. Rather than following dogmas, his was a search to express his inner self through color and form. His late garden paintings have a translucency and sensitivity to color and light that came, partly, from his observation of light and atmosphere on the color of the flowers in his garden as they bloomed in rain and sunshine, and as they slowly faded away.
The memory of his aunt’s rose garden as a youth and his experiments with color and abstraction after moving to Newyork are part of a continuum that evolved into his contemplation of his garden. In his essay “Painting Should be Poor” he wrote,“…any one of my paintings is part of a sequence, part of a total….each painting is solved in its own way, yet the continuation, the process, envelops all of them.” He also wrote,“if I have to say something about the subject of my painting, I might say that it is an interior landscape.this image becomes the subject. It is always the same idea, the same image—from an accumulation of experience.”
In his essay for the exhibition, Kenneth R. Marvel writes,“the forms and colors had attained an ethereal, even spectral presence, offering a sense of the profoundly meditative. They emanate an aura of tranquility
in the way a Coleridge or Wordsworth poem, read softly, might do…the works in this exhibition represent Vicente’s mature evolution as an artist. The paintings proclaim a deep love of beauty, yet the images are alluringly ambiguous and fluid, their content evocative but never mimetic.they have the freshness and vitality that only great masters possess.”
Esteban Vicente (1903-2001), Forma Color, 1998. Oil on canvas, 52 x 42 in.
Esteban Vicente (1903-2001), Untitled, 1999. Oil on canvas, 52 x 42 in.
Esteban Vicente (1903-2001), Evocacion, 1997. Oil on canvas, 52 x 42 in.