Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Artist of the Week: NY, NY

This week’s artist is my Uncle Hector. He is not really my Uncle, but he is a very dear friend of my family and was bestowed the honorific upon my and my brother’s birth.

He is a rather successful painter and had met my parents in college. They became fast friends and I have known him all my life. His family was not far from my first home and we would go there all the time. It is a very large, very boisterous and very loving family. I remember running about with a large pack of his nieces and nephews when ever we stopped by. My brother and I would be included in the family photographs, which was rather amusing. I would almost blend in with my dark hair and eyes, my fair skin being the only indicator that I might not belong. My brother, however, always shone out like a bright light, his pale blond hair and blue eyes setting him apart from the rest.

Papa Leonardi, Hector’s father, made his own wine and I vividly remember the large casks in the cellar. The family tradition was that a new born baby’s feet would be dunked in the new wine, blessing both the baby and the wine. He was also a great photographer and made a good living doing portraits and such.

Mama Leonardi, Hector’s mother, was a fabulous cook. The table was always groaning under the weight of her delicious creations. Easter was particularly memorable with the myriad of Italian pastries on the table.

So even though I am died in the wool WASP (or rather WASU since my family are Unitarians) by birth, my childhood had a distinctively Italian flavor.

Anyway, my Uncle is having an opening tomorrow at the Dillon Gallery in NY, NY.

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I love the direction he has taken with his latest works. The colors are almost luminous in his paintings. My favorites are Assisi (not pictured), Modena, Livorn and Trivento (it looks better in the catalog). I love that we are on his mailing list and that we get invitations to his openings. If there is any way I could, I would go see his exhibit in a heartbeat.

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