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PORTRAIT of  WRITER PRODUCER

JEREMY CHILNICK


Morgan Spurlock sees Freeman’s portrait of Johnny Depp installed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel during the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, gets an idea, searches for the artist’s phone number, makes a surprise phone call to commission Freeman to paint his business partner Jeremy Chilnick just like Johnny Depp, organizes a deceitful photo shoot in New York,  photographer dropboxes giant photo files of Chilnick for Freeman to work from, couple months later delivery and dinner with Morgan to check out the portrait on the pool table at Soho House in the Meatpacking District while Billy Cruddup carries a drunk Kiefer Sutherland to the washroom, a second trip to NY for the private party at Highline Ballroom, portrait hanging front and centre, lots of dancing, and a Manhattan snowstorm.

PORTRAIT of LESLIE SACKS

13 June, 2012  4:58 PM

Dear Carole 

Fantastic visual energy – makes me look young, I

suppose not a terrible thing.  Look forward to using it. 

Marvelous addition to the book. Many thanks for your kindness.

Sincerely,

Leslie


In the winter of 2012, I met the art dealer, Leslie Sacks, at his gallery in Brentwood, Los Angeles. A handsome man with deep-set eyes, wearing a hipster toque, he asked me to paint his portrait for the Skira publication of his African Art collection, preferring a painting to a photo of himself. At the time, the director of the gallery, Lee Spiro, commented what an enormous complement this was because "Leslie really only likes African art and Picasso".

I was sent many photos to work from, photos showing a handsome Leslie with an amazing head of hair - some with his wife, some with Lee. I chose a photo of Leslie in his office surrounded by things he loved - an African sculpture and in the background, a print by David Hockney.

While painting, I came to know this could be the final portrait of a dying man. The watch on his wrist became more symbolic than I could have imagined. The toque he wore when we met had covered his hair loss from chemo, his deep eyes those of a sick man.

I was told that when he received the finished painting, he loved it but was speechless, stared at it a long time, perhaps unable to digest the reality of the image in comparison to his present reflection in the mirror. His reaction might explain the decision to print the painting in sepia, a colourless, less representational version, though closer to Leslie's reality - a man in the process of disappearing. Leslie chose to put his dedication under my portrait of him, his only piece of writing in a book filled with 38 essays and descriptions of his collection by experts in the field.

I had an opportunity to see a rough copy of the book at the January 2013 opening of the gallery exhibition, Women's Art Now. My paintings were installed beside Elizabeth Peyton, and included works by Helen Frankenthaler, Nancy Graves, Pat Steir, and more, with keynote speaker Judy J. Larson, former Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. The exhibition benefited Women’s Voices Now, a not-for-profit organization founded by Leslie, concerned with the advancement of women’s rights to free expression in Muslim societies, one of his many philanthropic endeavors. Unfortunately, Leslie was not well enough to attend the opening.

That fall, on September 26, not long after he held a just printed book, Leslie passed away.

Even though I received a copy of the book shortly after publication, it is only now, over three years later, that I have been able to open it. I didn't have a chance to know Leslie well but through this book, I can feel his acknowledgement of my artwork, the responsibility he trusted me with, and the honor bestowed upon me through his request to paint his portrait for a final presentation of his legacy - a final presentation of his "refined eye and passionate heart".

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Private Commission

TWINS

acrylic on mylar, 36 x 24 inches each

Al Green Theatre Commission

DAVID MIRVISH

oil on mylar, 36 x 60  inches

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Blue Leaf Gallery Commission

MAN FRIDAY

ink and watercolor on paper, 3 x 5 inches each

Collection: LORD AND LADY GLENTORAN, Ireland

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Private Commission

FIVE PAINTINGS of BERT

oil on plaster on wood, 8 x 10 inches each

And so...I literally painted Alice Neel in the style of Alice Neel.

The first version was too big for Jerry’s  apartment.

Delivered small version to NYC, January 26, 2017.

"Roberta. Loves. The. Painting. So do I. " @jerrysaltz

(“Roberta” is Roberta Smith, Senior Art Critic for the New York Times, and Jerry’s wife.)


A second, actual, bootleg Alice Neel was requested by the two critics, to be delivered, April, 2017.


Alice After Alice

Oil on canvas, 48 x 54 inches (L), 22 x 28 inches (R)


Composition sourced from a black and white photo of Alice Neel with permission of photographer

Judy Olausen

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L to R: Carole Freeman, Jerry Saltz, Roberta Smith

Paint Me an Alice Neel”

JERRY SALTZ

Art Critic, New Yorker Magazine