This was an exercise I set for myself based on one of the four allegorical figures in the Hall of the Doges in the Davenport Hotel in Spokane,Washington. I took the general idea but recreated the figure using a model.
Oil on linen 24 x 30″ 1988
I stumbled upon a striking photo of this building while doing research inPetaluma’s newspaper archives.
Then I learned that the building was torn down in 1955, which led me to want to find out why, because unless there was a good reason it looked like wanton destruction. I found out that it was not in disrepair. It was sound and was hard to demolish. In city Council minutes it was evidently a foregone conclusion. The only reasons I ever heard from people were that they had built a new, single story, modern looking city hall and it would have cost the city to maintain this building, and that it was to make room for parking. This was all before “historic preservation” and the grand structure fell victim to post-WWII frenzy to do away with anything “Victorian.” The lot stood empty for decades and was only paved in the 1970s. By the late 80s the City had begun to market itself as “Historic Petaluma” and the parking lot was surrounded by a Victorian style wrought-iron fence with imitation gaslights.
Below are two of the studies for the painting.
Gran Chacona oil on board 12 x 16” 2012
The inspiration for this painting came from a concert performed at Spokane’s Bing Crosby Theater in March of 2011 by members of Sinfonia New York, hosted by Allegro Baroque and Beyond. The program, entitled “The Art and Ecstasy of the Chaconne: From the Streets of Spain to the Mind of J.S. Bach,” featured varieties of the beautiful and rhythmically enticing 17th century dance form, the chaconne, in a spellbinding feast of virtuosity, with the unique sounds of period instruments and the rich color and lively grace of Baroque dance.
The picture’s subject comes from the finale, the Gran Chacona, choreographed and performed by highly skilled dancers Patricia Beaman and Carlos Fittante.
This painting was finished in 1985, when I was living in Napa, CA. It was purchased by the owners of the Inglenook winery shortly thereafter and it hung in the private dining room at the estate for a number of years. A best selling poster was made from it, along with a gift tin made in England. At some point the property’s ownership was transferred and the painting disappeared. I have recently learned that the picture is now in a private home in the Napa Valley.
The estate is now owned by Francis Ford Coppola, who has also acquired the Inglenook name, which had been used for a brand of jug wines for a number of years. Premium wines are once again being produced under the Inglenook name.