In the midst of a career as an academic art historian and museum lecturer, I found myself longing to create my own work instead of continuing only to analyze and explain the work of others.
As I became aware from the written testimony of their letters and journals that the artists who were the subjects of my scholarly research were motivated principally by their passion for nature, I realized that my similar feelings could be assuaged only through painting landscape.
Van Gogh, Gauguin, and many other avant-garde artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries wrote often that it is not an art-school curriculum that fosters original and meaningful work, but a love and attentive study of nature and of past great art from a variety of cultures. With many years of experience in both these activities, I felt prepared to embark on a new path as a painter without the more conventional preparation of a formal degree in studio arts.
After a few hours of advice in technical matters from my friend Mignonette Cheng, at that time a professor of painting at the University of Michigan’s College of Art and Design, I began to experiment with ways of actualizing my visions of landscape.
From the beginning, I knew what motifs I wanted to paint and had mental images of how I wanted the work to look; what I had to teach myself was how to achieve these results.
Perhaps because I came to painting relatively late and with a great deal of knowledge about art, there was no preliminary period of imitating other artists or groping after an individual style. The work emerged as idiosyncratically my own, and although it has developed over time, it remains stylistically consistent.
For years I painted solely for my own pleasure, and because I was reluctant to sell my work, I wasn’t interested in pursuing the usual course of acquiring a gallery dealer and participating in exhibitions.
Eventually, however, I began to sell my pictures to friends who wanted them, and to accept commissions, and gradually the accumulation of canvases I had no room to display led me to a willingness to seek other outlets and a wider market.
B. A. in Art History, University of Michigan
M. A. in Art History, University of Minnesota
Ph.D. in Art History, University of Chicago
Tyler School of Art/Temple University, Philadelphia
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
The American University, Cairo, Egypt
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Maurer, Naomi Margolis. “The Pursuit of Spiritual Wisdom: the Thought and Art of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin”, Associated University Presses/Farleigh Dickinson, 1998.