Saturday, March 9, 2013

Pinajian Paintings Saved From The Garbage Now Mounted On White Walls Of Manhattan Gallery

The Artistic Life

Arthur Pinajian At Work [1914-1999]: "To our knowledge, no articles were written about Pinajian and he exhibited and sold his paintings only rarely. Despite this neglect, he pursued his art steadfastly and with incredible determination. The majority of his work was found after his death stacked up in the one-car garage and attic of his sister’s property," says a site dedicated to preserving Pinajian's legacy.
Photo Credit & Source: PinajianArt

It has happened often enough that it has now become a cliché: artist struggles his whole life in obscurity, dies and leaves his life's work chiefly undiscovered; some years after his death, someone casually goes through his work, calls in an art appraiser and he's  both "discovered" and lauded as a great artist. His work is then shown in a prominent gallery and compared to the greatest masters of all time.

Such is now the case of Arthur Pinajian [1914-1999], who 14 years after his death, aged 85, is now receiving the kind of critical acclaim he might have wanted when alive; Pinajian's works are now being shown at a prominent Manhattan gallery, says an article, by James Barron in The New York Times.
With the attention comes the possibility of something Mr. Pinajian never enjoyed in life: serious money for his paintings. Among the 34 works at the gallery are two oil paintings from 1960: No. 638, on the market for $87,000, and No. 3868, for $72,000. The least expensive item in the show, No. 4013, from 1987, is an acrylic painting for $3,750. (Size may have figured in the pricing. The oil paintings are three feet tall. The acryclic is only 11 inches tall.)
In a 2010 monograph, “Pinajian: Master of Abstraction Discovered,” Mr. Homer wrote that Mr. Pinajian’s work was surprising and that there was “a dichotomy in his personality.” He said there were two sides to Mr. Pinajian, “oMaster of Astraction, ne embodying a lyrical, romantic view of nature, and the other, exposing the darker side of male fantasies.”
The paintings in the gallery show, which is scheduled to run through Sunday at Antiquorum Gallery, at 41 East 57th Street, near Madison Avenue, fall into the first category, not the erotic images of the second. Peter Hastings Falk, an art historian and appraiser who coordinated the show, said the paintings on view followed the artist from Woodstock, N.Y., to Long Island, where Mr. Pinajian painted “from the same vantage points” around Bellport as William Glackens, an American realist painter.
On Long Island, Mr. Pinajian had an 8-foot-by-8-foot studio in a little house owned by his sister, Armen, who supported him for much of his life. His death in 1999 led to the discovery of the paintings. Peter Najarian, a cousin of the Pinajians who helped with the cleanup, explained in Mr. Homer’s monograph how he had defied Ms. Pinajian’s orders.
“Oh, just put it all in the garbage,” she told him. “He said himself to just leave it all for the garbagemen.”
Throw it all away? Mr. Najarian could not bring himself to do that, although he had to discard “almost half the work” because it “had become so moldy it was beyond saving.” Still, thousands of paintings remained.
And given the attention the paintings now receive, it is likely that they will be sold at a nice profit. The artist will receive in death what he didn't receive in life, but not the money of course. Such is a common case, and this story might give some hope to artists still alive who would like to both receive the attention they think they deserve and make some decent money for their efforts. But it seems the odds are against them.

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You can read more about Arthur Pinajian here; and read the rest of the article at [NYT]

2 comments:

  1. The world is fortunate to have the art of Vincent Van Gogh, the music of Antonio Vivaldi, etc. It is tragic that these creators were not properly appreciated while they were alive.

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    1. You mention two of the greats, whose works I both admire and appreciate; I agree that it's tragic that they were unable to attract attention for their work during their lifetimes. It has always been the case—the historical record and memoirs and biographies prove—that when it comes to creative works, talent alone is insufficient to attract attention from the commercial sector.

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