Saturday, March 30, 2013

It took 32 years to sell this painting...

When I was an art student at the University of Washington School of Art in the world's greenest city, the beautiful Seattle in the other Washington, one of the classes that we had was to create works in the style of "masters."

Back then I was in the ecstasy of having just discovered the works of Frida Kahlo, and being the talented antagonist that I am, I delighted in working the now iconic visage into as many art school assignments as I could.

This drove a lot of my art school professors batty, as control is always part of being a professor of anything, even though in art (at least back then) it was all about about freedom of doing whatever you wanted.

One week, the assignment was to paint a canvas in the style of Jackson Pollock, which as most art hacks now, can essentially be done with you eyes closed in zip time.

I delivered a four foot by four foot square canvas which delighted the Prof. -- him and I having had a few discussions about "following directions..." -- There was no Kahlo visage in sight! No eyebrows anywhere in the dripping of colors.

I got an A for the class.

Here's the painting below... it's actually a mediocre Pollock, but a brilliant drip painting in the style of the guy who was teaching the class and who was a drip painter... cough, cough; but there's more to the story.

Frida Kahlo in a Jackson Pollock universe by F. Lennox Campello
Frida Kahlo in a Jackson Pollock Universe
F. Lennox Campello, oil on canvas, 4 ft x 4 ft, circa 1981

Dude should have been suspicious of the title... heh, heh... but usually people want to see what they want to see...

And below is an image of the painting once the hidden flap in the center is removed...

And here's what's in the middle, under a most clever flap...

When I (of course) showed the hack (after grades had been recorded) the "real" work... he was furious at first... and then he laughed and congratulated me on my assholishness...

That painting has had a long and very cool provenance... it was exhibited back then at the University of Washington, and decades later at the Fraser Gallery show Passion for Frida: 27 Years of Frida Kahlo exhibition that got loads of coverage (for the DMV anyway), with a nice review in the Washington Times and a profile on the Washington City Paper.

After that it was everywhere! Santa Fe, New York, Miami...

And then, out of the blue (well... not really) ... it's now heading to a major art collector in Bryn Mawr, PA.

It took Frida and Jackson's marriage 32 years to find a home... but a home they have found!