Shakespeare. Van Gogh. Bach. Poe. Too often, something or someone has to be “rediscovered” as a part of history before society gives it its due. And that’s a shame, because the tendency to apply distance in order to gain perspective can deprive a culture of recognizing, and appreciating, what it has while it’s lucky enough to have it. Well not this time, because we appreciate Daniel Greene a lot — and so will you, especially after perusing his stunning new monograph, Daniel E. Greene: Studios and Subways.
Greene’s pedigree as a world-renowned painter is unchallenged. In fact, Encyclopedia Britannica declared the longtime resident of North Salem to be the foremost pastelist in the US. In addition to having been inducted into the halls of fame for both the Pastel Society of America and the Oil Painters of America, the octogenarian has won the John Singer Sargent award for excellence in portraiture and received American Artist magazine’s first Lifetime Achievement award as an oil painter.
Waiting, 116th Street Oil on Linen, 52” x 40”, 1992, Gallery Henock
Perhaps even more impressive is the list of famous people who have sat for Greene, including William Randolph Hearst, David Ben-Gurion, Clara Barton, and Ayn Rand, in addition to a host of US governors, senators, congressmen, mayors, and judges. To this day, Greene’s iconic portrait of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt hangs in the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, AR. In all, Greene’s paintings and pastels reside in more than 700 public and private collections around the world.
In Studios and Subways, Greene, a pioneer of figurative realism, showcases a pastiche of his work spanning six decades. The book features more than 200 reproductions of Greene’s color-drenched oils and pastels, including works from his renowned New York Subway series, still lifes, and nudes. With the help of art critic Maureen Bloomfield, the text explores the artist’s evolution from the macabre expressionism of his youth to his emergence as a realist painter following his tour of duty in the Vietnam War. Personal reflections and anecdotes from the artist himself lend further dimension to the text.
Whether you’re seeking a more comprehensive familiarity with one of the nation’s greatest living representational painters or simply trolling for that next great conversation- catalyst coffee-table tome, Daniel Greene is a genuine American master, and Studios and Subways is the incontrovertible proof.