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Johan Antoni de Jonge (1864-1927)

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I must have been 18 years of age and my parents started to get an interest in Art and in those days the Romantic School paintings were in fashion, so my parents visited the art gallery of Leslie Smith. A yearly show at a venue near the Vredespaleis, what was used as a showroom of “classic” furniture. I remember seeing Schelfhout, Verschuur, Leickert and Weissenbruch, but what struck me most was a small watercolor by Johan Antoni de Jonge. It was cheap compared with the other works of art, but would still become much much cheaper now that the Romantic School painters are completely out of fashion. The good thing about de Jonge as an artist is that his works are not ” sweet” they have an abstract/impressionist quality and are very pleasing to look at. Timeless and depicting everyday life in the Netherlands. Scheveningen, the country side and beach scenes are among his favorite subjects. They have all one thing in common. The artistic quality is there and makes you want to participate in the scene and experience life around the turn of the century.

The book on Johan Antoni de Jonge is available at www.ftn-books.com

de jonge

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Ray Smith (1959)

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I first encountered the paintings by Ray Smith in 1992 at the Barbara Farber gallery, which catalogue is also available at www.ftn-books.com. These paintings are intense and “Rock and Roll”. Ray Smith could easily be seen as the child of Picasso and Frida Kahlo.

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He is a contemporary American artist, best known for his segmented paintings and sculptures combining elements of Cubism, printmaking, art historical reference, and collage into postmodern compositions. Often relating to Surrealism in his unreal juxtapositions, Smith’s work is also characterized by a unique kind of magical realism. He frequently utilizes anthropomorphic animals in his work in a manner akin to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, stating about the creatures in his work: “They are beasts, but they are directly attached to a blueprint of our own existence.” Born in 1959 in Brownsville, TX on family land that was part of Mexico before the Texas Annexation, Smith grew up in Central Mexico, and continued to retain a cultural and geographic tie to the country. After attending art schools in both the United and Mexico, Smith ultimately settled in Cuernavaca while continuing to travel regularly to New York. Smith’s work can be found among the collections and exhibition histories of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.