Nicolas Carone: Imaginary Portraits

Carone Text
September 7th- October 28th, 2017

Loretta Howard Gallery is pleased to present Nicolas Carone: Imaginary Portraits. The exhibition focuses on paintings and sculptures of imaginary people. The practice of painting heads was a life long pursuit which became a preoccupation for Carone in the 1980s. Carone did not use models; instead, the people portrayed are drawn from the artist’s mind. During the same decade, Carone began carving sculptures from stone found on his property in Umbria, Italy. Imaginary Portraits is organized in conjunction with The Thing Unseen: A Centennial Celebration of Nicolas Carone at the New York Studio School curated by Ro Lohin.

Carone, an Italian American born on the Lower East Side in 1917, enrolled at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School in Manhattan when he was 11 years old. After being granted the prestigious Prix de Rome in 1948 and a Fulbright Grant, he spent three years living on Via Margutta in Rome. Carone continued to move between New York and Italy throughout his life. In the 1980s, he bought a farmhouse in Umbria, where he later founded a renowned art school.

Carone often spoke of his enormous admiration of Piero della Francesca, Leonardo da Vinci, and other masters of Italian Renaissance; who all shared his deep interest in the spiritual and symbolic consciousness of their subjects. Carone’s mysterious heads evade specifics of time and place. For example, the stone heads, while contemporary, also evoke Etruscan terracotta portraits. These haunting psychological portraits transport us to an inner world of odd beauty and contemplation.

The gallery exhibition will be on view from September 7th – October 28th. The Studio School survey, where Carone was a founding faculty member, is on view from September 5th – October 15th. Illustrated catalogues with essays by David Ramm and Roberto Caracciolo will accompany both exhibitions.