Sunday, November 01, 2009

Albert York, Reclusive Landscape Painter, Dies at 80

Edge of the Forest (Ca. 1963)

Bread and Wine (ca. 1966)

I had not intended to come back on a sad note, but was sorry to learn of the death of Albert York, an American artist whose work I know primarily through a profile of him that appeared in The New Yorker in 1995.

Here's some of what The New York Times had to say in its obituary, published this morning:

Rarely measuring more than 12 inches on a side, Mr. York’s paintings evoke a world in which time and art seem to stand still or even move backward through history. His trees had the symmetry of those in Renaissance paintings. His images of a single cow or dog evoked the manner of Dutch or English painters. His occasional figures might be robed or turbaned as in earlier times, or accompanied by a skeleton signaling life’s brevity. He frequently zeroed in on small vases of flowers, recalling late Manet, and even went so far as to do his own rendition of Manet’s “Olympia.”

But his paintings’ geometric simplicity, flatness of form and workmanlike brushwork exuded a quiet modernity, as did their wholeness of composition and feeling. In the catalog to a 1975 York exhibition at Davis & Long, the critic and painter Fairfield Porter wrote, “Certainly part of the strong emotional appeal of these paintings” is that Mr. York “is not clever, and in no sense superior to the nature of his medium or the nature of the subject, but that he is at one with both.”

The Sea, East Hampton (ca. 1964)


Blogger Jeff C said...

Thanks for the post about Albert York. For those of us who have not studied art or art history, his passing means little. But reading your post means that I am a little better educated and have had my horizons broaden, having read your work about his work which makes the world somehow a little better.

Welcome back. Thank you for taking the time to allow us to see through your well educated eyes.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Cindy Hunter Morgan said...

These are beautiful. It's nice to study them --even on a computer screen -- on this November morning.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Joelle Biele said...

Thanks for posting these beautiful paintings--

8:04 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

That Bread and Wine painting could be my self portrait.

5:54 PM  

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