Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Naïve art


Naïve artists work without formal technical qualifications and with a remarkable indifference to perspective. Uninfluenced by art traditions, they paint pictures mirroring their memories, desires and dreams. When most people think of naïve art, the names that come to mind are Henri Rousseau and Grandma Moses, but southeast Europe has produced many of these painters. Among the best known, the peasant, Ivan Generalić; the postman, Ivan Lacković and the carpenter, Ivan Rabuzin.  Rabuzin's buyers included Yul Brynner and Woody Allen - you can see one in Annie Hall. His pastel-coloured silk screen prints sold well in the Far East and he was known in Germany, France, Italy and Japan, but his reputation had never been established in Britain. My job was to find a London gallery which would represent him … There were only two possibilities, the Portal Gallery, who represented Beryl Cook, and the Rona Gallery. The Portal weren't interested, but the Rona was. A regular visitor there was Mervyn Levy: writer, artist and art critic who’d been a childhood friend of Dylan Thomas. Mervyn was a small, dapper man with a moustache and neatly-clipped white beard. We planned to write a play together about Dylan, based on Mervyn’s memories, and he would invite me to the Chelsea Arts Club to discuss our project. We never got far after the first bottle of wine. Read more about my years in the art world at Left Field. 

Pic. Ivan Rabuzin

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