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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Walther Jervolino

The Carriage Entrance, Walther Jervolino--my favorite by this artist.

The Collector, Walther Jervolino
Except perhaps for a completely self-taught artist (very rare these days) every one of us is a compendium of other artists. (Some might argue every artist we've ever encountered.) My first art idol was Norman Rockwell so there's a lot of him in me. There also a dollop of an unknown "plate" artist I knew as a child who went by the name of Kelly (last name, I believe). He painted idealized landscape in oils on ceramic dinner plates to be hung on the wall, selling them retail for $7.50. As a teenager,  I picked up some technical landscape traits from an unknown, itinerant, county fair artist from Florida. Keep in mind this was all before I'd ever taken a single painting or drawing class. My first formal art class was as a freshman at Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio. By that time I was pretty set in my was, any influence from my instructors there came as refinements. My portrait style and techniques are virtually all self-taught. That's who I am as an artist--my family tree, so to speak. (Some might say I'm rather inbred.)
Walther Jervolino and his
Tower of Babel.
Walther Jervolino is Salvador Dali, Giorgio de Chirico, and Max Ernst, seasoned with a little Hieronymous Bosch and Caravaggio. Just the seasonings alone would make for a rather spicy entree. The dish would, of course, be labeled Surrealism. Before we get metaphors to mixed up, it's important we differentiate between the chef and his signature dishes. The artist is the "who" (Walther Jervolino). His influences constitutes the family tree suggesting "why;" while the art itself is the "what." When and where are usually only of minor importance, in this case, the latter half of the 20th-century (Jervolino died in 2012). His venues were mostly Paris, London, and Milan--another metaphor lending itself to the kitchen--French, English, and Italian cuisine.

Gianduja and Giandujotto, Walther Jervolino--charming, but other than having to
do with Venetian masks, I've no idea what the painting means.
Walther Jervolino
As the name suggests, Walther Jervolino was Italian, born in 1944 in the province of Ferrara (northeastern Italy). His early art training, such as it was, came from local Realist painters. Starting his career in London, he studied under Riccardo Tommasi Ferroni, who mostly served to introduce him to clients throughout Europe and in the United States. For a time, living in this country, he lived and worked out of Miami, Los Angeles, and New York. In the 1980s, Jervolino produced such Postmodern Surrealist works as Gianduja and Giandujotto (above), The Death of Pinocchio (below), The Collector and The Babel Tower.

Pinocchio's Death, Walther Jervolino
The Death of Pinocchio was something of an obsession that evolved throughout Jervolino's life. The artist was profoundly influenced by the main character of the 1883 children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, by the Italian writer, Carlo Collodi. Jervolino tried to imagine a different destiny for Pinocchio. He consider the wooden puppet/boy as guilty, of being a traitor to his father, the wood-carver, Geppetto. Therefore Jervolino created several paintings and engravings proposing various means of executing the boy. Geppetto is similar to Jervolino's features, thus depicting a personal revenge of the painter against the satanic Pinocchio.

The Woman with the Pearl Earring, Walther Jervolino--his Postmoder tribute to Vermeer.


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