In the spring of 1977, my father and I opened a small gallery featuring his collection of vintage photographs of Martha’s Vineyard. We didn’t tell my mother about the gallery until we were ready to open. As each year passed we would expand upon the gallery’s offerings to include posters, limited edition prints and finally original works by nationally recognized artists. Today the gallery features the work of 30 living artists, a Modern Masters collection and a very unique collection of antique maps and nautical charts dating back to the mid-1500’s. We are quite proud of our artists and of the gallery.
The fall, and particularly the month of October, is a really pleasant time to visit Martha’s Vineyard and the town of Edgartown is always worth the trip. You are able to find a parking place and get a table at your favorite restaurant. The beaches and bike paths are deserted which make for a wonderful afternoon walk while taking in the crisp fall air and seasonal colors.
Even though the crowds are gone, the Island is still bustling, in part due to the very popular annual Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby but also because of the many festivals and outdoor activities that take place during this time of the year.
On Saturday, July 2, 2016, The Christina Gallery opened the 2016 Summer Exhibition with an artists’ reception for William R. Davis, Lloyd Kelly and Marjorie Mason. The gallery is celebrating 20th anniversaries with both Davis and Kelly who joined the gallery in 1996. Marjorie Mason, who has been with the gallery for many years as well, is also part of the season celebration with her recent collection of paintings of Martha’s Vineyard.
Au revoir 2015, Bonjour 2016! With 2015 now behind us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and how fortunate we are for being both healthy and happy. It was an exciting year for many of the artists who experienced steady sales and the exhibitions with Lillia Frantin and Marjorie Mason were very well received. We are looking forward to next season with the hope that this positive sales trend will continue for all of the artists.
In November, I traveled to France with my sister, Catherine. We were in Paris when the attacks took place and although we were not in harm’s way, it was an unsettling experience – one that I personally will not forget anytime soon. Paris is such a beautiful and vibrant city and I hope to make it back there soon.
Every time I speak about the marine paintings by William R. Davis, I point out that he is a self-taught artist. As I am saying the words and looking at his paintings, I say to myself ‘that cannot be’, but it is true. Davis was born in 1952 in Somerville, Massachusetts, and grew up near the shore in Hyannis where he enjoyed a love of sailing that still is with him today. He has spent much time studying the works of the 19th century masters and has amassed an impressive library that he references to achieve historical integrity in his paintings.
Over the nearly twenty years that we have represented his work, I have most enjoyed Davis’ attention to detail, regardless of the size of the painting. To me there are little paintings within the larger one. Clients and those new to his work have also marveled at his detail.
David Bareford’s seascapes effortlessly capture the spirit of summer. His plein air oil paintings are beautiful renditions of sunny beaches and elegant sailboats. He paints each scene with a loose brushstroke and a palette dominated by sea-foam greens and cerulean blues. It is rare to find a gallery visitor looking at Bareford’s paintings without a smile crossing his or her face. His blue skies are simple and succinctly portrayed, yet they effuse connotations of heat, sun and sand and the happy memories that accompany those images. Bareford plays on the viewers’ nostalgia as he portrays faceless families gathered on beaches and majestic sailboats gliding across the water. These are all scenes that strike a personal cord for many viewers. The graceful sailboats muster up thoughts of afternoons out on the water; the children splashing about in the ocean remind us of mornings on South Beach.
David Bareford was born in New Jersey and has been painting in New England throughout his life. He began his artistic career working in watercolors, but moved into oil paint to expand his vision. Bareford is part of a long-standing tradition of marine artists working out of Rockport, MA. He is an active member of a number of artistic societies including the Rockport Art Association and the Copley Society. You can see a selection of Bareford’s oil paintings online here or in person at The Christina Gallery in Edgartown, MA.
William R. Davis has made his name as a painter of historic sea and landscapes. Known as one of the best marine painters of our time, Davis is a self-taught artist who learned to paint by studying the works of 19th century masters. Francis Silva’s works showed Davis that warm tones are pleasing to the eye, while astute observation of William Bradford’s paintings led to Davis’ technique of priming his canvas in salmon hues. The salmon under-painting results in the warm glow that marks each of Davis’ oil paintings.
Davis was born in 1952 in Somerville, MA and grew up near the water in Hyannis where he developed a love of sailing that would last a lifetime. He has amassed a library of over one thousand texts on marine artists, historic vessels, maritime charts, and other boating related books. He thoroughly researches each landscape in order to recreate its 19th century appearance. Davis uses a gentle hand and a soft sable brush to create his carefully rendered oil paintings. His works are defined by their warm color palette, impeccably detailed subject matter, smooth surface, and atmospheric lighting. Renowned for his ability to accurately portray the billowing sheets and taught lines of a schooner, he is also unmatched in his ability to emulate the quality of light in a dewy sunrise or a pink-tinged sunset. His perceptive appreciation of light allows him to capture the power of nature in every painting. Collectors of Davis’ art praise the elegant way his brushstrokes melt into the surface of the canvas and the accuracy with which he captures the turn-of-the-century seascapes.
William R. Davis’ work is reminiscent of the American Luminism of the late eighteen hundreds. The style is defined by the use of natural light, often sunrise or sunset, in the paintings of American landscapes. Davis’ work can be found in collections and exhibitions around the world, including at The Christina Gallery in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard.
Walking past the windows of The Christina Gallery, one can’t help but notice the bright colors and bold brushstrokes of Lillia Frantin’s “Still Life on a Summer Day.” The large canvas radiates energy while Frantin’s palette of pastel and neon shades illuminates space far beyond the painting’s frame. A bouquet of pink flowers blooms in a glass vase. Green stems create contrast with the orange and yellow backdrop of the painting, and the plate of oranges at the foot of the floral arrangement.
Lillia Frantin’s influence by Expressionists and Fauvists such as Matisse, Cezanne, and Bonnard is clear. Like her precursors, she tests the limits of representation in her signature loosely painted, energetic still lifes. After teaching Modernist Art History at the university level for twenty years Frantin retired to pursue her painting career full-time. Looking at Frantin’s paintings is like seeing the world through her eyes. As she describes “…Art is really what we all search for in life: understanding and respect, harmony and freedom, connection, vitality, truth and beauty.”
The Christina Gallery welcomes Lillia Frantin’s Modernist oil paintings back after a ten-year hiatus. Her work can be found in collections across the United States and abroad. Come visit us at the gallery and ask us for more information or to see her vibrant works yourself.
Lloyd Kelly is internationally renowned for his landscape and equestrian oil paintings. He has exhibited at The Christina Gallery since 1994 as well as at galleries and museums around the world including the United States, Mexico, Japan, China, France and Italy.
Kelly’s works are often celebrated for their bold use of color and unique asymmetrical balance. High horizon lines simultaneously provide the viewer with both an interesting focal point and an entryway into the canvas. Diagonal lines extend off the canvas out into the viewers’ space, resulting in the dissolution of barriers between reality and the world created by the artist’s brush. This technique allows the viewer to become a part of the painting.
A consistent thread seen in Kelly’s work throughout his career is his use of complementary colors in the fore and background of his paintings. He places great importance on the under-painting of his canvases. The contrast that his layering creates adds dramatic tension to the deceivingly simple compositions and subjects. His selection of beautiful and serene subjects such as lush lavender fields and floral still-lifes are familiar to viewers. Kelly himself frequently reminds the viewer that his work is abstract and that diverse and unexpected meaning can be found in even the most seemingly innocuous subject matters. The painting is not only about the object itself; conventional subjects become a way to express other ideas.
From July 5-19, 2012 The Christina Gallery will have on view an exhibition of original oil paintings by Lloyd Kelly entitled “Paintings of Provence.” Inspiration for the works in this show comes from Kelly’s travels to the south of France. Many master painters in history are either from, or travelled to, Provence. The rolling hills, impressive architecture and surreal natural lighting provide a rich subject matter for this collection of paintings. As Kelly explains, “The south of France is inspirational because of the food, the wine, and the magic light there. It is still a big influence on artists today. There is such a rich diversity of landscape; nature is so present. It energizes the artist and inspires…”
We hope to see you at The Christina Gallery for our first show of the 2012 Summer Season!
Jan Pawlowski is known internationally for his impressionist seascapes, landscapes and city scenes. Sunday the 24th of July marked the opening of the Polish artist’s one man show here at The Christina Gallery. Pawlowski has been a frequent visitor to Martha’s Vineyard since joining the gallery in 1996.
This exhibition of his work highlights these visits as he displays views of the island. The paintings displayed in the show demonstrate Pawlowski’s confident and quick brushstrokes as well as his sensitive understanding of color and form. Pawlowski’s followers appreciate his bright and serene palette.
Paintings such as “June Afternoon, Edgartown Yacht Club” capture the essence of the Vineyard. A light wind blows causing the American flag to flutter in the wind and a cluster of sailboats breeze by in the distance. Pawlowski manipulates the oil paint masterfully, transforming a few simple brushstrokes into light and fluffy clouds gracing the otherwise clear afternoon sky.
Jan Pawlowski paints en plein air or ‘in the open air.’ This technique of painting was advocated by the Impressionists of the late 19th century. In 1841 tubes of paint were invented, allowing artists to easily transport their materials and paint from life wherever they were inspired. Prior to this invention, artists and their assistants hand ground pigments and produced their own paints. Many art historians and critics credit the creation of tubes of paint for the development of Impressionism for it was the ease of movement that allowed artists to paint outdoors. Pawlowski embraces this technique and can often be found along the beaches and waterfronts of Martha’s Vineyard capturing the jovial atmosphere of the island with his expressive brushstrokes and pleasing palette.
Pawlowski has been recognized for his oeuvre of artwork by the Polish government; in 1979 he was awarded the highest honor given, called “Authorization and Certification.” His work was also in the collection of Pope John Paul II.
Sailors’ Valentines are part of an old maritime history dating back to the 19th century. On Martha’s Vineyard Sailors’ Valentines remind visitors of the island’s whaling heritage.
Often made of Spanish cedar, Sailors’ Valentines are octagonal shaped boxes, lined with fabric and filled with intricate geometric patterns of colored seashells. These works, originally called ‘Fancy Work’ are native to Barbados. Locals used thirty-five types of indigenous shells to form their elaborate designs. Sailors travelling to the area from England and America would purchase the mementos in port to bring home to their loved ones. The colloquial name ‘Sailors’ Valentine’ was inspired by the sentimental messages, such as “Truly Thine,” that were occasionally worked into the shell mosaic.
Sandi Blanda is a folk artist currently living in Plymouth, MA. Blanda uses only naturally colored shells to create her contemporary versions of the Victorian era’s Sailors’ Valentines. She was captivated by the romantic folktale (though untrue) that sailors created these mementos themselves while out at sea. Inspired by the notion that such ornate objects were created for loved ones, and her personal love of flowers, Blanda sought out to produce her own iteration of the Sailors’ Valentine. She remains true to the tradition, working shells within octagonal wooden boxes. Some of these cases are hinged so when closed they take the form of unassuming simple boxes, but when opened they reveal intricate and colorful designs. This was very common amongst the Victorian Sailors’ Valentines because it protected the shell work while the sailors were at sea. Blanda’s sophisticated creations can take up to four months to complete due to their precise and meticulous nature. These precious artworks are treasured by generations as they are passed down within families.
Camille Pissarro (1830 – 1903) is frequently referred to as the patriarch of the Impressionist movement. Pissarro moved from his birthplace of St. Thomas to Caracas in 1852, and after this taste of independence from his family’s bourgeois life, returned to Paris (where he had studied as a boy) in 1855 to begin his life as an artist. Pissarro’s artistic talents were apparent from an early age, yet he increasingly grew to dislike the aesthetic canon revered by the Salons of Paris. Pissarro embraced the technical act of painting [and printmaking] and enjoyed the freedom and possibility that the paintbrush allowed him. He eliminated historical and sentimental associations from his artwork and instead focused on the quality of light and the modeling of form. Academies and the Salon that presided over the respected artistic world of Europe did not share this viewpoint. Instead they admired the artist whose work captured the likeness of the subject matter while not revealing the artist’s hand or the mark of the brush. A passionate brushstroke was seen as a weakness. Pissarro, along with his like-minded contemporaries including Monet, Renoir, Degas, Sisley and Morisot, organized their own exhibition of Impressionist works separate from the exhibitions hosted by the Salon. This exhibition was held in 1874 and was the first of eight independent Impressionist shows.
Throughout his life, Pissarro remained committed to his artistic ideals which were adopted by his children and future generations of artists. He was the only artist to exhibit works in all eight of the independent exhibitions, demonstrating his support of the younger generations of Impressionist artists. All of Camille Pissarro’s children were encouraged to draw frequently and four of his seven sons became well-established artists in their own right.
Pissarro produced engravings for his own enjoyment; he did not seek to sell them and as such they are often printed on small or unrefined pieces of paper. Despite this amateur attitude towards the medium of printmaking, Pissarro was to become a master in aquatint later in his career. His Femme a la Barriere (1889) combined both drypoint and aquatint and is a prime example of the varied techniques with which Pissarro experimented. He was known for remaining open minded about methods of artistic expression and embraced many styles within his works. The print is of a woman opening a garden gate. Varied lines capture the texture of the woman’s bustling skirt, the leaves of a bush blowing in the breeze, and the fine detail of the thatched roof cottage in the background. Pissarro’s prints reveal his private thought process and layers of preparation that lie behind each of his oil paintings.