May 3, 2019 § 2 Comments
Q & A | PAMELA FEINSILBER
For two decades he ran the Thomas Reynolds Gallery, an elegant, welcoming art gallery just off Fillmore Street. Since 2015, Thomas Reynolds has exhibited art online and privately by appointment. When a jewel of a space at 1906 Fillmore became available a couple of years ago, he organized a pop-up exhibition. And now, until the end of June, he’s showing art there again.
We met when you were my boss as editor and publisher of California Lawyer magazine. The next thing I knew, you had an art gallery. How did that happen?
I got interested in art and design as a young lawyer in Chicago, going to the Art Institute on Thursday nights. When I came to California Lawyer, we always aimed for strong covers — we even had a Gauguin on the cover once when we wrote about litigation over the bequest that created the Armand Hammer Museum in L.A. I think you edited that story. Through the magazine, I met some wonderful, just-emerging contemporary California painters. Francis Livingston and James Stagg both painted early covers of California Lawyer, and both were in my first gallery show, in 1994.
What made you decide to open a gallery?
I happened into the graduate exhibition of a young painter who lived near Fillmore, Veerakeat Tongpaiboon. His family owned Neecha, the Thai restaurant then at Sutter and Steiner, and many of his paintings were of this area. I lived here, too, and had already fallen in love with the neighborhood. On a lark, I rented the three-room Victorian space at 2291 Pine Street to show Veerakeat’s paintings, and those of a few other artists I admired. I had a six-week lease — it was to be one exhibition, not a new venture.
I loved it — both being surrounded by art and becoming more involved in the neighborhood. And people loved Veerakeat’s paintings. His first three shows sold out and he was able to buy a home nearby, where he still lives and paints. I found a lot of satisfaction in helping launch the careers of some incredibly talented painters who’ve had great success.
January 30, 2016 § 19 Comments
WE ARE SAD to share the news that the artist Ken Auster died yesterday, January 29, 2016, at his home in Laguna Beach, California. He was 66, and had been battling metastatic prostate cancer for a decade.
Auster burst onto the resurgent California plein-air scene in the mid-1990s and became one of the country’s most respected location painters. Within a few years he had won nearly every major plein-air painting competition and had successive sold-out gallery exhibitions.
“My life in art started when I was a kid,” he wrote in his 2011 book, Intellect and Passion. “I can remember being yelled at for drawing surfers screaming down humongous pen and ink waves at the top of my homework assignments.”
He grew up near the water in Long Beach and surfing was a major part of his life. During his college years at Long Beach State University, he combined his interest in art and surfing and began silkscreening T-shirts. Eventually, after living in Hawaii, he established a successful surf art business and his work was seen around the world.
Despite his success, he decided at mid-career he wanted to be a fine artist.
“A lot of artists start by trying to be painters, then de-evolve into commercial work to make money,” he said. “I started with surf art on T-shirts and worked my way up.”
Painting on location was his breakthrough.
“One day I was invited to go out with a few friends and paint on location at a local beach,” he wrote in his book. “I set up and started painting what I saw. The experience was a turning point in my life. Here was the bare bones of art — no process and minimal equipment, just a burst of passion and paint, with immediate results and gratification. It just happened and it was beautiful.”
Auster’s first exhibition was presented by the Thomas Reynolds Gallery in San Francisco in 1997. It sold out. So did his second and third. His work was widely published, and he went on to exhibit at galleries nationwide. He was also a natural as a teacher, offering workshops around the country and a series of videos.
“Ken Auster was the real deal,” said Reynolds. “He was a terrific painter, a great teacher and a wonderful human being — and he always made it fun, from his clever titles to his endless one-liners that seemed to flow without effort. The world has lost a great artist.”
He is survived by his wife, Paulette Martinson Auster. An aloha style celebration of his life is being planned.
December 9, 2015 § 23 Comments
By KAY ROBERTS
My house is full; I have too much art; I need to downsize. And so, inspired by Marie Kondo’s bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I began to dig around downstairs for art I could sell or donate.
I was looking for an old print I knew was around somewhere, but instead I found a wonderful cat poster I didn’t recognize. One cat was piled on the back of another, from a big lion on the bottom to a perky black house cat on the top. My husband and I are cat people, but we had no idea when or how we had acquired it. Perhaps it was from his mother, an amateur artist who loved cats, or maybe it came from a friend in a library where I worked in the 1970s. We obviously liked and saved it, but it was never framed and has no pinholes from being hung on the wall of our son’s room. What should I do with it?
It was signed Marion Seawell, 1971. Enter the Internet. I quickly found out that Marion Seawell is a California artist and that the Thomas Reynolds Gallery in San Francisco shows her work. So I emailed the gallery:
March 7, 2015 § 1 Comment
By PERI SCHWARTZ
It all began when John Seed, the art blogger for the Huffington Post and a Facebook friend, posted his interview with Sandy Ostrau. Her exhibition was at the Thomas Reynolds Gallery in San Francisco and the work captivated me. As a painter, I feel connected with the artists from the Bay Area and am strongly influenced by Richard Diebenkorn’s figurative work. Here was a gallery showing work that I related to.
I became FB friends with the gallery and loved what Thomas posted. Along with posts about work he was exhibiting, he put up interesting articles and photographs. I certainly would have missed the talk Gretchen Diebenkorn gave about her father if he hadn’t posted a link.
When he posted the painting “Inside Move” by Ken Auster in December, I shared it on FB. My cousin Charles in Boston fell in love with the painting, especially because it reminded him of a bar he used to go to in lower Manhattan. He showed it to Jackie, his wife. Charles’ birthday was approaching and Jackie wanted to buy him the painting as a surprise. I encouraged her, she called the gallery, and now they have a beautiful painting by Ken Auster in their living room.
February 12, 2015 § 80 Comments
In celebration of its 20th anniversary, we have decided to declare victory and close our gallery at Fillmore & Pine Streets in San Francisco at the end of February.
What began as a six-week exercise in following your bliss has led to the creation of a wonderful community of artists and collectors over two decades. Among the opportunities for which we’re most grateful:
• Presenting the first gallery exhibitions of a long list of talented artists, including Ken Auster, Francis Livingston, Michael Reardon and Veerakeat Tongpaiboon.
• Working with key figures from the Bay Area Figurative Movement now departed, including Theophilus Brown, Paul Wonner and Henry Villierme, who had a late-in-life resurrection of the art career he put aside 40 years earlier.
• Learning from wise gallery veterans like Charles Campbell, Jan Holloway, Claire Carlevaro, Barbara Janeff and the ever-helpful Mark Hoffman at Maxwell Galleries — and especially for the tutelage and friendship and good ideas of art historian William Whitney.
We are eternally thankful for your encouragement and appreciation and support — and for the friendships we have made during your visits to the gallery. Many, many of you have acquired terrific paintings you love, and we have watched together as a group of extremely talented artists have pursued their passions and established considerable success.
The TRG website and Art Matters, our online magazine, will continue. We look forward to keeping in touch with you through periodic emailings and posts on our Facebook page.
New adventures await! In addition to ongoing legal and publishing ventures, I am looking forward to pursuing interests and opportunities still to be discovered. To that end, I welcome your suggestions and introductions.
Thank you for 20 great years. Onward to the next 20!
With thanks and all good wishes,
THOMAS R. REYNOLDS
December 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
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.
EARLIER: Our artistic corner
December 19, 2014 § 1 Comment
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.
« Read the rest of this entry »
June 3, 2014 § Leave a comment
From Southwest Art magazine:
One day in the early 1990s, Francis Livingston mentioned to client Thomas Reynolds, then editor and publisher of California Lawyer magazine, that he had painted some atmospheric scenes of the nearby old coastal town of Santa Cruz. “He came to my studio, and he wanted to buy them,” Livingston says. “But I didn’t want to sell them.”
Not long after, Reynolds phoned the artist. “He said, ‘Francis, I’m opening a gallery and want to give you a one-man show. And then I can buy your art!’ ”
That gave Livingston the push he needed to produce his first gallery works. In 1994, Livingston’s first show of moody Santa Cruz oils at the new Thomas Reynolds Gallery in San Francisco won him positive recognition.
Read more: “Francis Livingston: Realities Reimagined“
May 4, 2014 § Leave a comment
ONE OF OUR strongest supporters — and one of our neighborhood’s truly good guys — was laid to rest the other day. Hayes Keeler was a lawyer turned investment advisor who lived nearby. Over the years, he’d stop by on his neighborhood rounds, always ready to joust, tickled that another lawyer had turned gallery owner. Even as Parkinson’s Disease took its toll, he remained amazingly upbeat.
His friend Tim Smith gave the eulogy at what was billed as the “Celebration of the Life of Hayes Keeler” on May 3, just down the hill at the beautiful little Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
“He was tough,” Smith said, “challenging, probing, engaging and professorial. I always had to be sure I knew what I was talking about, even if I thought it was obvious. After he continued to challenge me and I continued to squirm, he would suddenly smile and say, with a twinkle in his eye, ‘Okay, you win.’ ”
April 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
By KEN AUSTER
One day I was invited to go out with a few friends and paint on location at a local beach. Using an old easel and a few tubes of oil paint left over from college painting classes, I set up and started painting what I saw. The experience was a turning point in my life. Here was the bare bones of art — no process and minimal equipment, just a burst of passion and paint, with immediate results and gratification. It just happened and it was beautiful.
A year and probably 200 paintings later, I was ready to get feedback from people other than my friends. I looked north to San Francisco. For me, San Francisco has always been a kind of Disneyland for adults. My first adventure there was in 1967 during the Summer of Love. There’s still a Jefferson Airplane poster on the wall in my studio. So during another trip to the happiest place on earth, I thought I would stop at a few galleries with some transparencies and see if I could get some response.
The last stop on this spontaneous gallery tour was the Thomas Reynolds Gallery, in a classic Victorian flat a few steps from Fillmore Street. A series of small rooms showing mostly small paintings, each one hanging with room to breathe. I presented my slides — and the owner wanted to see more. It was at that moment I realized that a good gallery was interested in my work.
A few weeks later we scheduled my first show. My original vision was to paint landscapes of Northern California — trees, rocks, ocean and hills, but no city. That first show sold out. So did the second and third. It was the mid-90s at the height of the plein-air painting renaissance and I was right in the middle of it all, painting many of the small towns along the California coast. I won top prizes at the plein-air events that were cropping up, and the surfer-turned-painter story was picked up by several art magazines.
Then came another moment that again changed my direction as a painter. I was driving in San Francisco on California Street late in the afternoon heading into the belly of the city — a straight shot downhill punctuated by intersections and cross traffic with red taillights glued loosely together at the bottom. I stopped at a red light and just stared for a moment at this incredible concrete grand canyon. I grabbed my camera and started taking pictures, circling the block and hoping to hit every red light. Everywhere I looked was a painting. Artists are always looking for the moment that is the catalyst for the next painting — that flicker of gold. I had found the mother lode.
— from Ken Auster: Intellect & Passion