A message from Barcelona

December 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

A painting of Fillmore and Clay Streets in San Francisco by Joan Longas

A painting of Fillmore and Clay Streets in San Francisco by Joan Longas

Dear Thomas Reynolds,

I had the pleasure of meeting you in your gallery this past summer. From that visit to San Francisco was born this painting that I just sold to a customer who, although he is from Barcelona like me, I met through your gallery website.

Joan Longas

EARLIER: Our artistic corner

Painting the energy of the streets

December 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

Veerakeat in his home studio | Photograph by Jennifer Blot

Veerakeat in his home studio | Photograph by Jennifer Blot

By JENNIFER BLOT

The destiny of artist Veerakeat Tongpaiboon had a lot to do with the windows of Academy of Art University’s Sutter Street gallery in downtown San Francisco.

Though he’s now a nationally recognized cityscape painter, the first time he walked by the gallery nearly 25 years ago, he was a waiter and recent emigrant from Thailand. Captivated by the painting of a nude in the window, he set about learning more about the artist, Craig Nelson. When he found out Nelson was director of painting in the School of Fine Art, he decided to enroll at the Academy.

Fast forward a couple of years to an evening when Thomas R. Reynolds, the editor and publisher of a San Francisco legal newspaper, passed by the windows and felt a similar connection to a painting he saw. He entered the gallery, inquired about purchasing two of the works on display and left a business card for the artist, an Academy M.F.A. student who went by one name: “Veerakeat.”

These serendipitous moments happened more than two decades ago, but Veerakeat’s relationship with both Nelson and Reynolds endures — as has his popularity as a San Francisco cityscape artist.
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An honest opinion

December 15, 2014 § 4 Comments

My pal Judson Orrick, a lawyer, was moved to begin painting. One day his friend the artist Joe McFadden came by his law office. As he tells the story:

“I represented Joe in a dispute with a gallery owner who wasn’t paying him. Joe came by my office, which is festooned with examples from my abstract expressionist period. Big canvasses. Lots of bright squiggles and whathaveyou’s. Everyone who comes in compliments my rare talent. Joe said nothing. So I said to him: Everyone compliments my artwork, Joe, but yours is the single opinion that matters to me. Honestly, what do you think?”

“It’s dreadful,” he said. “Truly horrible. A waste of paint and canvas. I know orangutans working with dung who have shown more promise. Seriously, it’s bad. You should stop.”

Then he turned up his palms, cocked his head, smiled and shrugged. “You asked.”

Read more: “I really, really liked that guy

One that got away

November 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Frank Lloyd Wright's design for 830 El Camino del Mar in San Francisco.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for 830 El Camino del Mar in San Francisco.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT designed no homes built in San Francisco — only the V.C. Morris Gift Shop on Maiden Lane, thought by some to be a warm-up for his circular design for the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

It turns out, however, that Wright also designed a home for the Morrises in Sea Cliff, overlooking the Golden Gate. It was never built. But drawings show what might have been.

Read more: “A Frank Lloyd Wright house in Sea Cliff

Capturing an essence

October 21, 2014 § 1 Comment

A HIGH SCHOOL art class stopped by to visit Sandy Ostrau’s exhibition. They had a few questions.

Still teaching its lessons

October 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

Photograph of the Swedenborgian Church by Laurie Passey

The Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco is a National Historic Landmark.

By TED BOSLEY

My earliest memories of the Swedenborgian Church are from about 1957. I would have been three years old. I remember the welcoming fire behind the hearth and the home-like atmosphere of the sanctuary. And there were the welcoming people, too: Rev. Othmar Tobisch and Mrs. Tobisch, and Jane Sugden — “Miss Jane,” as we called her — who taught my sister Kathy and me to sing. I recall especially the sound and feel of the rush-bottomed chairs that my little backside swam around in.

Our father died in 1959, so most of our childhood memories of the church are connected with our mother, Phyllis Bosley. The church became our home away from home. Kathy and I were there four or five times every week for one reason or another: children’s choir practice, adult choir practice, Thursday night supper or to help Miss Jane with a project.

I don’t recall exactly when I became interested in the church building as a potent physical object, but I do remember why. Sitting at the back of the church waiting for a wedding to conclude so I could blow out the candles and sweep up the rice (Mr. Tobisch paid 75 cents per wedding), I picked up a copy of the little pamphlet written in 1945 on the 50th anniversary of the first service. It described historic features of the church, practically all of which — and this is what captured my complete attention — remained decades later exactly as they were described. It seemed incredible that a place might be so loved as to be left unmolested for so long.

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Charles Campbell (1915-2014)

October 9, 2014 § 1 Comment

Glenna Putt | Charlie Listening to Music (2000)

Glenna Putt | Charlie Listening to Music (2000)

By KENNETH BAKER
San Francisco Chronicle

Charles Campbell, a San Francisco gallery owner who represented major Bay Area contemporary artists for more than 60 years, died of natural causes Friday [October 3, 2014] at his San Francisco home. He was 99.

Mr. Campbell became famous locally for showing what he liked, irrespective of fashion or potential profit. He happened to admire and exhibit many artists later identified with the region’s signature art movement, Bay Area Figuration. They included Nathan Oliviera (1928-2010), Paul Wonner (1920-2008), Gordon Cook (1927-85), Theophilus “Bill” Brown (1919-2012), James Weeks (1922-98) and Joan Brown (1938-90).

The back room at Mr. Campbell’s gallery was long known to locals as a treasure trove of artistic miscellany. There visitors might pore over an ever-changing array of works on paper and small paintings by American and European artists both famous and obscure, interspersed with Indian miniatures and the odd pre-Columbian or African artifact.

Nothing comparable exists, or perhaps could exist, in the supercharged and economically polarized art market of today.

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