Master draftsman and celebrated figure painter, Harry Carmean, taught figurative art at Art Center College of Design for 46 years. His work unites classical and mannerist compositions with Romantic subjects and more modern colors and brushwork to create a figurative art that is both timeless and fresh.
4:02 | Narrated by Jeremy Tessmer | Released for L.A.'s RISEN, 2011
AN ANALYSIS OF THE ARTIST'S WORK
In Carmean's personality there are echoes of Sisyphus, that mythic man who was condemned to repeat a task over and over, always with the hope that he would get it right. Carmean too seems compulsive, as if he is driven to draft and paint. It is not unusual for him to rework a canvas twice, or three times; occasionally even a fourth time. He may do that over the course of a decade, or even longer. As early as 1972, the famous Los Angeles collector Stephen Longstreet noticed this obsession and compared Harry Carmean to the great Japanese printmaker, Hokusai, who signed himself "Old-Man-Mad-About-Drawing."
Carmean has not limited himself to drawing and painting. His studios are always filled with his etchings and engravings and a number of pastels. He has produced shelf upon shelf of sculpture. But his most substantive works are his canvases.
Harry Carmean is a realist painter. Nearly all of his paintings have people involved in identifiable activites or recognizable positions. All of his figurative canvases are assembled with an intimate knowledge of human anatomy. His figures flow easily from his brush, as if without any effort on his part. In even his most complicated compostions, with numerous figures, there is an ease to the construction. It is this ease that leaves the viewer entirely focused on the subject and story of Carmean's canvases.
The canvases tell the story of a highly trained artist whose love for the human form has never wavered. Over the years, Carmean's classical themes and modern brushwork have given life to literally hundreds of beautiful characters. He paints the whole spectrum of humanity, from musicians in cafes, to acrobats, to dancers, to families, to lovers, to nudes at play in sylvan settings.
1922 Born in Anthony, Kansas
1923 Moved to California
1936 Began producing Portraits
1940 Courses in Art and Music at ???
1941 Received award in Poster Contest at ???
1942 Entered World War II in U.S. Army
1944 Trobridge, England Red Cross - Solo Exhibition
1945 L'Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, France
1946 Returned to Los Angeles for career as singer
1946 Completed first studio
1947 Enters Art Center under Lorser Fietelson, Los Angeles
1948 Exhibits at Los Angeles Art Association
1948 Orange Show in San Bernardino, CA
1949 Flower Show, Orange County, CA
1949 Founded Ardmore Group
1950 California Color Society "Eight California Painters"; Los Angeles Art Association Membership & Exhibition
1951 Palos Verdes Community Art Association; Los Angeles Art Association's "Artists You Should Know"
1952 Joins staff at Los Angeles Art Center
1953 Chaffey community Art Association, Ontario, CA
1954 Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Employed Walt Disney Studios; Santa Monica Art Gallery "Southern California Artists"
1954 Joins Feitelson, Lundeburg and De Erderly on LA Art Association panel
1955 Madonna Festiva, Wilshire Ebel, LA, CA; Festival of The Arts, Laguna, CA
1956 Festival of the Arts, Laguna, CA; Functionalist West, LA Art Association,
1957 Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Chaffey Community Art Association; Chapman College; Chaffey College; Downey Museum of Art; LA Art Association; Mc Ney Galleries, ??, TX
1959 Orange County Art Association
1960 Palos Verdes Art Association; Long Beach Museum of Art, "Arts of Southern California - Drawing,"; Two traveling exhibitions for Western Association of Art Museum - Seattle, WA.
1961 Eastern Circuit, Traveling Exhibit, Chapman College, Orange, CA; Dallas Public Library, Dallas, TX; Everhart Museum, Scranton, PA; Wuston Museum of FineRacine, WI Art; Columbia Museum of Fine, Columbia, SC Art; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA
2006Masters, Mentors and Metamorphosis, Fullerton College Art Museum, Fullerton, CA
2005 In the Flesh Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2004The Moment Before the Moment Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2002The Art of Love Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
2001 Karpeles Museum, Santa Barbara, CA
1999 Chrysanthou, Los Angeles, CA
1990 Irvine Valley College, Irvine, CA
1989 Irvine Valley College, Irvine, CA
1989 Nebera Gallery, Denver, CO
1988 Nebera Gallery, Denver, CO
1987 N.W. Ayer, Los Angeles, CA
1984 Dan Turk Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1978 Moody Gallery, Pasadena, CA
1977 Seventh Street, Los Angeles, CA
1977 Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ
1976 Moody Gallery, Pasadena, CA
1976 Seventh Street Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1975 Seventh Street Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1974 Seventh Street Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1970 Los Angeles Art Association, Los Angeles, CA
1964 Fullerton Art Association, Los Angeles, CA
1962 Orange County At Association
1962 Marymount College, Los Angeles, CA
1961 Micheal Thomas Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA