The paintings of Harry Carmean might confuse the casual student of art history. Compositionally, his paintings compare with the Mannerist works of artists like Pontormo, Tintoretto, or El Greco. Other paintings, like Nudes in Bathroom (p. 3), share a palette and a sense of light with Nabis artists Bonnard and Vuillard. Much of his work employs a thoroughly modern brushwork, and one sometimes finds the introspective nature of Post-Surrealism in images like The Artist and The Model’s Model. The artist himself would describe his work as Romantic before qualifying that statement into meaninglessness.
While Harry Carmean’s work might be difficult to classify using the jargon of the art historian, it is work that is wholly captivating. Sensual lines, masterful compositions, and jewel-like colors create sheer visual delight. The idyllic settings seduce into reverie while the beautifully rendered bodies exalt.
Born in 1922, trained at the École des Beaux Arts and then at Art Center in Pasadena under Lorser Feitelson, Carmean’s work bridges a unique intersection between modernism and the grand tradition of painting.
- Jeremy Tessmer