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The Colors of Passion: Fernando Gerassi's Centennial

Celebrating the birth centennial of influential Spanish painter Fernando Gerassi--friend to Picasso, Calder, Sartre and other intellectuals.

This exhibit is for us much more than a simple virtual show. It is also a call to pay homage to a great artist as well as an extraordinary man. After intensive research in France, Spain, the US and Japan - research which still needs much more legwork - we were compelled to present to you our dicoveries in the hopes that this would lead to recognition of a great artist. Below you will find extracts from the web page as well as amazing testimonies from Gerassiâs friends such as Calder, Miro, Simone de Beauvoir, Meyer Shapiro.....

Fernando Gerassi was born in 1899 in Istanbul, Turkey...

His work and his life are inseparable: one explains the other. For, as one contemplates his canvasses, his paintings of astonishing colors, one cannot avoid being struck by the great hopes, almost exaltations, the violent passions, the loves and friendships of a whole life, but also the confrontations, the betrayals, the pulverized ideals... A film unwinding rapidly of Paris in the Thirties, of Barcelona in flames, of the mountains of Vermont at peace.

Fernando Gerassi's work is complex, dramatic, upsetting, uplifting. It follows closely his extraordinary history, as much his political commitment and his ideological trajectory. Between his first oils, in l927, and his death in l974, Gerassi travels the gamut of modern art. Yet, throughout, characteristic constants are clear: an inborn sense of color, which sometimes combine into a violent fugue.

Though unknown to the general public, Fernando Gerassi traversed his century in the company of those who thought, wrote and created in the last 50 years, folks as varied as Sartre, Calder, Picasso, Malraux, Meyer Shapiro, Miro, or Soviet Marshal Jukov.... Born in Istanbul in 1899, he was intimately linked to the major events of the 20th century, often thrown--or throwing himself--into the thick of such upheavals as the creation and collapse of the Weimar Republic, the pre-war revolutions of modern art of Montparnasse, idealistic Popular Frontism of Europe, anti-fascism of Madrid and Barcelona, of spying and counterspying of Washington and New York... A passionate, dramatic, agitated life ending in the tranquillity of Vermont's rolling hills "which look so much like the Basque country..."

Quotes and Commentaries

"Spain's best painting is in Paris today, and it is in Paris that it can conceive itself, feel itself, affirm itself as Spanish painting, as art and act genuinely representing Spanish genius." - Jean Cassou, Catalogue of the exhibition at the College of Spain of the Cite Universitaire, Paris, l935.

"In June, StŽpha and Fernando descended on Paris, highly elated because, after a long period of agitation, upheaval, and repression, the Republic had finally been established in Spain." - Simone de Beauvoir, "The prime of life," World, Cleveland, 1962.

"A unique painter's temperament, a rare understanding of painting."(Gallery Billiet-Worms, Paris.)
- J. Laprade, "Beaux-Arts," Paris, March 1935.

"He affected me then more than any other man alive. He was an intellectual, like me. He was a painter, I was a writer. He had the same point of view, the same basic vision of life. To him, painting was more important than anything else. And then, just like that," he said clicking his fingers, "Fernando went off to the fight. This really upset me. We had both always wanted revolution, but then suddenly, here was an intellectual like me, saying in effect, intellectuals must do what they preach." - Jean-Paul Sartre, inteview with John 'Tito' Gerassi (Fernando's son), Paris, 1971.

"He is a true romantic, following the direction of instinct. Often he works with a very thick past of color, shaping a motif of extreme simplicity." - Dorothy Adlow, "The Christian Science Monitor" Boston, May 1957.

"He ridiculed the "war in lace ruffles," but at the same time I knew that he could not find it in himself to condemn the magnanimity of the militiamen who, though they swore dreadfully and on meeting one another said "salud y dinamita ["health and dynamite"]," instead of "hullo," indignantly repudiated the idea of blowing up the Alcazar: "What are you thinking of? There are women and children inside!" - Ilya Ehrenbourg, "Memories, 1921-1941," World, N.Y., 1963.

"Ernest Hemingway, who was at the front, told me once in New York that Fernando did everything he had to that day but never stopped crying. Neither did Ehrenbourg." - John 'Tito' Gerassi, "Memoirs," New York, 1964.

"These are paintings done for the love of painting and though the dislocation of the war years has been costly, there are clear signs in this show of how far he can go now that he seems to have his grip on the brushes again." - "Art Digest," New-York, April 1955.

"To those who demand recognizable details, it may seem little more than a close-up of a rusty saw. But taken on its own terms, as evocation rather than description, it can have the misty morning grandeur of a mirage that stays."
- Alexender Eliot, "Time Magazine," NY, March 1955.

"A letter from the Gerassi which filled me in on their latest venom. They were stopped from going to France two years ago, and since they didn't cooperate they were warned that they would be deported to Spain, he an ex-red general in the civil war." - Simone de Beauvoir, "Letters to Nelson Algreen," Gallimard, Paris l997.

"Rarely does one see more energy symbolized in paintings today than in the work of Fernando Gerassi, artist of Putney, Vt., at the Panoras Gallery." - C. B., "N.Y. Herald Tribune," New York, April 1955.

"Ehrenbourg also shared his true feelings with trusted friends. To Stepha and Fernando Gerassi, he disclosed his anguish over Soviet anti-Semitism and the pressure Boris Pasternak was under in Moscow."
- Joshua Rubenstein, "Tangled Loyalties," Harpers & Collins, New York, 1996.

"The desire to be as free of preconceived ideas as possible has allowed Gerassi to paint in a number of different styles. There are very abstract red blotches on green backgrounds that have an affinity with Pollock and the Rorschach test, as well as recognizable still life and landscapes. In this sense, Gerassi reminds us of his compatriot Picasso."
- Lowel J. Rubin, "The Harvard Crimson," Boston, May 1957.

"The painter Fernando Gerassi, showing work at the Panora Gallery, for the first time in twenty years, turns visual experiences into emotional ones."
- S. P., "New York Time," New York, April 1955.

"Fernando and Calder knew each other since the Thirties. Calder had exhibited at the Gallery Billiet-Worms in Paris, in part thanks to Fernando. It was also Fernando who had the idea of naming the sculptor "Calderon de la Fuente" so that he could exhibit his famous "Mercury Fountain" at the Spanish Pavillion at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris."
- Recollections of Tito Gerassi.

"Works significantly and meticulously chosen: a noble homage to that genius by the best works out of the best veins of Juan Gris, Cargallo and Maria Blanchard, Bores, Gerassi, Gregorio Prieto, Castellon, Dali, Gonzales, Bernal, de la Serna, Junyer, Miro."
- "Beaux-Arts," No 126, Paris, 1935.

Francois Rojon runs Tamarin Art Inc., a gallery in Lido Beach, New York, (516) 897-4207Please click here to see an exhibit of Gerassi's art.


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