I learned to paint in New York City while I was studying economics at Columbia University. My teacher was a Belgian painter, Simone Ruyters, who had learned her art from famous Belgian surrealist Delvaux. At the time, Ruyters was well known in New York society for her incisive portraits. With her, I learned drawing and all the oil painting techniques I used throughout my life.
My secret? Simone Ruyters is...my mother! Yes, I'm totally convinced that any capacity I may have in this direction is derived from genetic inheritance. No surprise then that I have devoted the PHOENIX HERITAGE serie - all 525 pages, that's how long the three books are put together - to that very issue: heredity and how to handle it.
1. Love and Pain: the passion of painting the developing world, from India to Peru
As my work for the United Nations took me to developing countries, I came back with sketches of what I saw - the suffering, but also the beauty and dignity of the poor. Once I had more time (after retirement) I made large-size canvases and participated in over a dozen shows, mostly in Paris.
|In a refugee camp - Dominican Republic|
|Displaced people in Darfur (Sudan)|
In 2008, all my paintings on that theme were shown, in a personal show called LOVE AND PAIN, held at IPSAR, the Portuguese Institute of Art in Rome.
|The sniper (Afghanistan)|
You can see more of my paintings here
While more paintings of the Third World may be found on my painter's website, it also contains critical paintings, almost caricatures, of our own civilization - things like burlesque dancing, women begging in the subway after a show of pole dancing or women with red hats, which were shown in a personal show in Paris in 2007, at the Galerie Mona Lisa, on the Rive Gauche in Paris.
3. Horses as Symbols of Power and Elegance - and how they are out of step with a modern urban environment
These paintings celebrate the horse as a symbol of strength and beauty. In some of them, I've placed the horse in a deliberately mismatched environment: the modern city where he has no place, where his natural power and elegance is lost.
These paintings were successfully shown in two exhibitions, in Rome and in Sicily.
To view a sample, click here.