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Alta Loma, CA, United States, 2006/10/04 - For 50 years, art has been the secret inspiration behind Tony Curtis’ life. This is part of one of a three part article where Tony Curtis discusses life, art and box assemblages..
At 81, Tony Curtis is defying convention. During a time when many of his living contemporaries have faded into the comfortable obscurity of retirement, this legend of the silver screen is arguably at the peak of his second—and in many ways, first—career as a celebrated painter and boxed assemblage maker.
As children we grew up watching Dad paint,” daughter Jamie Lee Curtis announced at her father’s 80th birthday celebration in June 2005. “We did not realize that we grew up with a famous movie star.”
The same questioning and receptive mind that captures the subtle nuances of daily life and later incorporates them into his film roles has spent the last several decades storing sights and memories that now flower on his vivid, intensely-colored canvases and populate his cubed compositions. The glamour of the film world has left an indelible mark on his visual images; each film locale and co-star has provided Curtis with new inspiration for his artwork.
Demand for showings of his art keeps Curtis constantly on the move. In May, the Carmel Art Festival in California celebrated “Tony Curtis Day”, honoring the artist in an enormously successful show at Gallerie Amsterdam. Shortly thereafter, Higgins Harte
International Galleries in Lahaina, Maui held an equally successful exhibition in mid-June featuring Curtis’ work. Recently, Curtis’ art was accepted into the permanent collection of the new film and media wing of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
At his home in Nevada, Curtis’ studio is a snapshot of an artist in constant motion; a worktable, covered with paints, brushes and supplies, features cubbyholes filled with random objects yet to become part of one of his boxed creations. Shelves that line the walls of the studio are packed with dozens of his small dioramas preserved beneath glass that capture a moment or feeling in the life of this living legend.
Curtis’ home hosts a considerable collection of others’ art as well. A tapestry made from one of his paintings rests on an easel that belonged to Edward G. Robinson. On one wall hangs LeRoy Neiman’s 1961 painting, Matador; on another, an original watercolor done for Curtis by Andy Warhol, whom Curtis says “changed the whole look of everything.” A Marc Chagall sits on an antique table alongside three Pablo Picassos and a Balthus.
About Tony Curtis
Tony Curtis, Hollywood legend and star of over 150 movies including “Some Like It Hot”, is also an accomplished artist. His work may be found in collections in over the world.
This article is reprinted by kind permission of Jeff Marinelli, Publisher of Art and Living Magazine.