LODESTARS

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Francois-Auguste Ravier, 1814-1895. This French artist from the Dauphine region was a wonderfully gifted landscape painter. Nearly unknown, he was an occasional  painting buddy of Corot and Daubigny, but developed largely on his own and in isolation from Paris. His mature style is unmistakably his own, and forms a peculiar bridge between Rembrandt and Soutine. He understood how to create magic without surrendering the medium to cheap illusions and tricks. Click for more.

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Paul Cezanne. 1839-1906.  This artist is both famous and also a painter’s painter. An isolated but long life totally devoted to his art — somewhat like Ravier (whom he did not know) — Cezanne developed a unique art that changed painting forever. Although he cannot be termed a modern artist, he did make modern art possible. His pictures are monumental yet fairly tremble with life, a neat trick that no one has duplicated without imitating him. Click for more.

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Milton Resnick, 1917-2004. A painter’s painter, poet and talker extraordinaire; perhaps the only quasi-genius I’ve known, and I knew him for 31 years (which wasn’t easy.) Of all the artists of his time, Resnick made the most compelling case for abstract art. His mature work was both sensuous and ascetic, much like the man. He was largely self-taught. I put together a book about him entitled, Out Of the Picture: Milton Resnick and the New York School, which can be purchased on Amazon and from the publisher, MidMarch Arts Press. Click for more.

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Pat Passlof. 1928-2011. A wonderful painter and friend, long time wife of Resnick, Pat Passlof worked somewhat in the shadow of her husband yet influenced him at times and created a rich body of work that stands on its own. Although a pioneer in the feminist movement in the arts, she refused to embrace a sisterhood of artists separate from men. Her brilliance of mind and literary skills are formidable to say the least. Click for more.

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Ferruccio Busoni, 1866-1924. Singular composer, and probably the most original pianist of his or any time, Busoni was deeply immersed in literature and art. His little book, Sketch of a New Aesthetic of Music, was deeply influential in his day. He anticipated Brecht in his theatrical works, and posited new intervals and scale systems. Possibly the last real Renaissance man. Click for more.

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Natan Brand, 1944-1990. A special combination of intimacy and incandescence made this artist one of the most communicative pianists of his time. I studied with him for nearly three years until his untimely death at 46. His Schumann seemed almost clairvoyant in its power to mesmerize an audience, and at his best there were elements of genius at play. He kindled my musical ambitions after a 16 year break. Click for more.