Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Male art & gay art collector's interview 2 - Paul

Today's interview is from Paul S., from Atlanta, USA, who is telling us in his very own words some personal stories.

Q.1 Could you tell us why you appreciate male art ? 

In 1945, when I was six years old, my father came back from WWII  where he had been a surgeon for three years in the US Army in North Africa and Italy. He had brought back for me a beautifully bound red leather book “ THE WONDERS OF ITALY”.

I was utterly beguiled by the book. My father loved Italy and particularly Florence. He would spend time with me showing me the photos of the paintings and sculpture that were in Florence. I was attracted particularly to the photos of Michelangelo’s DAVID ( much more than Donatello’s!.) and Masaccio’s THE EXPULSION OF ADAM AND EVE.

Michel Angelo's David - Firenze, Italy. Photo by Serge Briez.

I think I remember taking the book to show and tell at school. It would be very amusing  to hear  a recording of what I said when I showed the book to my classmates.

In my early years of adolescence, I knew I liked ‘messing’ around with my friends on campouts etc. but that soon ended and I was of the generation where it was impossible to think of being gay. I hid my interest in men by looking at art books and enjoying the males in heterosexual pornography. Art classes at Princeton afforded me the opportunity to enjoy all the nude male paintings and sculpture of the artist of Greece, Rome, the Renaissance and paintings of the nude male as well as sculpture down to the present day.

In 1959, I went to France and Italy. I was in heaven from the Rodin museum in Paris to the Academia in Florence as well as the church with the Masaccio paintings. I started buying art books at this point not paintings, drawings or sculpture. In 1961, I was finally exposed to Greek Erotic drawings. Unfortunately you couldn’t buy the books in the USA then.

Q.2 Among the art pieces you purchased, could you describe one or two ?

I was married and then divorced in 2006. I essentially was living separately from 1998 on and I then started buying distinctly homoerotic art. My major source then was the Adonis Art Gallery in London. A very good friend of mine in France, Jean-Louis Mennesson lives at the Chateau Outrelaise in Normandy. He is a photographer and had beautiful photos of past lovers etc. He is also a very good friend of a French artist Bernadette Kelly whose major theme is the male nude body. I bought some of her drawings and a painting of a swimming scene with the male body in seven positions at a pool from swimming to diving to observing. Her models were dancers from the Paris ballet.

Bernadette Kelly - Le bain - Oil painting

Q.3 Is there a male art piece that gave you a strong feeling or emotion ?

I visited Villa Rainbow and saw the sculptures of J-Christophe and was immediately attracted to his work and I am pleased to say I have one of his sculptures.
J-Christophe introduced me to the late Patrick Poivre de la Freta. Before Patrick's death I purchased a painting and then from his estate some of his drawings. From my visits to Villa Rainbow, I have been inspired to commission for my bathroom a mosaic of a male nude that is my shower.
Sadly, I am unable to spend a vast amount but I enjoy very much and take pleasure in what I have acquired.

Thank you very much Paul!

Some links:

Château d'Outrelaise website
Patrick Poivre de la Freta in this blog