Thursday, November 21, 2013

Vincent Desiderio

by Donato

This past week's lectures and presentations to my classes and a gallery talk at the Huntsville Museum of Art left me thinking about an artist who has continued to inspire me year after year.  Vincent Desiderio creates some of the most stunning emotionally ambiguous works that I know.  From his massive work representing art history within books to the sublime paintings of his children, I am constantly moved by both his technical virtuosity and passionate narratives.  I feel both conceptually uneasy and sensually seduced in front of his works, a tension born of his effective marriage of disparate art forms - the cerebral modernist and technical classicalist.

His paintings are luminous, generated through layer upon layer of glazing and deft alla-prima painting, and most oimportantly he is not afraid to paint large, very large. If you can find his book Vincent-Desiderio-Paintings-1975-2005, pick it up.  It is well worth the $150 in what it can do for your conceptual development.

Vincent is represented by Marlborough Gallery in New York City.  While there are not pending exhibitions of his art planned, keep your eye out for his work.  You will not be disappointed no matter how far you must travel to view it first hand...


  1. I discovered Desiderio earlier this year. A truly great painter.

  2. I had the great fortune of taking a 3 day master class with Vincent in 2011. It changed the way I understand painting from the inside out. It deepened immensely my understanding of technical significance, color, form and relationship of contemporary painting to historical precedent. It changed the way I approach and think about my own painting as well as the way I teach painting, certainly making me a better painting teacher. He has an awe-inspiring intimate knowledge of painting history and historical technique (and its mode of communicating meaning). His paintings are a constant source of information and spark for contemplation.

  3. I saw him speak at MICA a few years ago. Great work and he seemed like a really intelligent guy. He had apparently been painting in a manner more in line with Willem De Kooning when he was studying at PAFA, and only started getting into figuration afterward. It was refreshing to hear a painter making work like this speaking critically about tradition and an academic approach to working.

  4. I bought the Paintings 1975-2005 book a few years ago, as a way to better understand where you've been, Donato. It's been a wonderful source.

    I noticed there's a Marlborough catalog of his 2012 show and was wondering if that might be a good thing to acquire, as well. What's your opinion? I'm not exactly a Completist, but as close as I can, maybe, in this case.

  5. The recent Marlborough catalog is beautiful and well worth obtaining. It's slim, covering only the paintings in that exhibit, but a bargain at the $20 amazon is charging for it. I look at it as often as the 1975-2005 book.