Robert Watson

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Robert Watson: It's fascinating to watch people view Robert Watson's paintings. They stalk them, pace before them, unable to pull away. You can almost hear mental gears turning and sense the surge of energy. Perhaps this magnetic quality explains why Watson's paintings appeal to such a cross-section of humanity. His collectors over the years have included Mort Sahl, Ray Bradbury, Burt Reynolds, Norman Cousins, Vincent Price, Armand Hammer and the late Duchess of Windsor, as well as a number of major corporations and museums across the land. He is the rare artist whose creations rise above the crass and trendy, and go right to the essence of human existence.

Watson's career was launched in 1947, with a one-man show at Gump's in San Francisco. From the beginning, he has consistently and successfully drawn on a technique, developed by masters of the Venetian School, of underlying hot color with cold color and vice versa. In fact, the artist says Guardi, Titian and Canaletto have all influenced his style.

Watson the man is erudite, candid, sensitive, articulate, and personable and, at times, even flamboyant. But Watson the artist-at-work tends toward reclusiveness and introspection. To view his work is to be challenged by the intimate world he creates. And herein lies the appeals of the painter some erroneously call a surrealist. In fact, he is a precise, disciplined and relentlessly powerful neo-romanticist—a painter intensely bent on luring us into an unnamed territory where riddles are posed for our decoding. The solitary figure, the lonely sanctuary of ruins, the intrigue of a stairway and the awesome infinity of sea and sky all ask questions for us to answer, if and when we can.

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