Saturday, May 13, 2006

WOW, just, WOW...Henry Villierme. Melicious and I visited The Thomas Reynolds Gallery last night before going to the Giants game. We were one of just a couple people there at the time and luckily had a chance to view all of the work on display from many different angles. That was a stroke of luck because in addition to the work on display for sale, Thomas had hung Highway Study #2, oil on canvas, 77x59.5 completed in 1957. Stop reading for a second and look at the work again. Clear your mind of the need to get to the end of this section and read the next and then imagine the size of it, 6 and a half feet tall, nearly 3 feet wide, the black highway protecting the colorful right and against the encroaching white, or vice versa depending on how you see the world today. The colors, each vying for your attention, demanding to be studied more closely. It takes over a room like your favorite uncle when you were a child, full of stories. This painting had hung in the 1957 exhibition of "Contemporary Bay Area Figurative Painting" at the Oakland Museum along with those of Diebenkorn and Park. How good was he at the time? Well, "There is no one I would feel better about describing as a real painter," said Diebenkorn, who encouraged curator Paul Mills to include Villierme's work in the show. The work in person is very powerful, and quite honestly I was amazed to see it there. Personally I think that it should be at the De Young.

Henry's new works are wonderful as well. Our favorite was Cofferdam, oil on canvas, 30x24. We don't have the wherewithal at the moment to purchase such a wonderful work as it was priced at $12,600*. If we had the wherewithal, this is surely the work we would choose. The rich orange color, the perspective and color of the water and waterway, the deep green and the bits of color to the right, all work for me as a whole and as something I could find new parts to love as time went on.

And truly, I must say that Henry might be one of the nicest people I've ever met. He walked up to us as he entered the gallery, surely seeing the glazed look of people in love with his work, and remarked on the works, wondering aloud who painted them. He asked to be reminded of our names and thanked us for attending. Finding out that we lived in the City (he's a native) he remarked on how wonderful it was. When I told him which of his works we owned he said the nicest thing. He said "Well that makes me the luckiest man, because besides my own, I live in your house too". He wished us happiness and good health and we floated out the door.

I live in your house too. Yes you do Henry, and not in the one made of wood and stone, but rather the one made of muscle in our chests.

*So, is it crass or wrong of me to print the price of the work? If so, please tell me, especially you Thomas, if you're reading. I printed it because in the end this is supposed to be a blog about collecting and the work is, in the end, for sale. I assume that the readers would want to know what such things cost. As mentioned in the previous post, I think that Henry's work is very collectible, and collectible in the best way. It is work with a story, bound to rise in price, created by one of the nicest people I've met in a long time.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Wow, long time no write. In my defense, I started a new job and was watching a friend wait for a new heart (he got one and is home). I still don't have much time to write, but this pic was sitting in iphoto so I could get it up quick and easy.

Anyway, this is our only piece by Henry Villierme. Sorry about the reflection from the glass. I really don't want to remove it to take the photo, so you'll just have to bear with me. This is a gouache on paper work, 8.5x11. I love his landscapes but dislike his figuratives. They just don't speak to me like the landscapes; which don't so much grab me like Veerakeat's work, rather they invite me to look, and look and then, "Well gee, the sun's coming up, where did the time go?"

As a collected piece, this is probably the one of all of ours that is guaranteed to increase in value. The painter is respected by the likes of Richard Diebenkorn, has only recently retaken up his work after a long stint working a real job to earn a living and so hasn't been as prolific as he might have been, and is not a youngster. Personally, I'd be ok with the value of the piece being $0, if Henry could go on painting forever.

And, oh wow, what an amazing coincidence, honestly, I wrote this post and then went to Thomas' to see how to spell "gouache" and there it was, an announcement that Villierme is having another show there on 5/12. If you're anywhere in this timezone, you should really attend. Why? Just ask Diebenkorn.