MAITLAND, Fla. – Approximately 35 original works of art by renowned Impressionist painter William Kirkpatrick (Fla./N.M., 1939-2004), who signed his canvases “William Vincent,” will be exhibited from July 16-Sept. 5 at the Maitland Art Center (MAC). The works are on loan to MAC courtesy of Baterbys Art Auction Gallery, of Orlando and Delray Beach (Baterbys.com).
It will be a coming home of sorts for Kirkpatrick, who studied at the Center in the early 1950s, when it was still called by its original name, the Research Studio.
The young prodigy, born to Irish parents in St. Augustine, began painting when he was 10 years old and won his first art contest at the same age. He studied at MAC under resident artist Lois B. Tracy.
The exhibition is titled William Vincent Kirkpatrick: American Impressionist. It showcases just a sampling of the prolific artist’s body of work, which consists mostly of landscapes, florals, figures and portraits. He also painted murals, including two rather large ones at the Tomasita’s Santa Fe Station restaurant in New Mexico, where the artist lived later in life.
Kirkpatrick’s introduction to Impressionism occurred during the mid-1950s, when he studied and worked under the late writer and artist Alfred Morang, himself an accomplished Impressionist painter. Morang believed the medium of painting was a reflection of life itself, a “springboard to the imagination,” as he said. He passed this ethos on to many aspiring artists.
Kirkpatrick was one of three young painters who especially benefited from Morang’s tutelage. The influence Morang had on the young student was considerable – the intimacy of the impressions, the vibrancy of the palette and the enduring affinity for landscapes, as well as other common subjects of interest. Morang died suddenly and tragically in 1962. At around that time, Kirkpatrick began studying at the Taos School of Art in New Mexico, and this ushered in yet another phase in his artistic development. It is there that Morang’s direct influence began to enlighten and influence his work, resulting in a style best described as American Impressionism – bright colors, painterly textures and common subjects.
Kirkpatrick also studied in Denver (with his friend, the artist Ramon Kelley) and was also influenced by the artists Walter Gonske and Rod Goebel, whom he considered masters of Impressionism.
He later studied Realism with the Spanish painter Gilboa, and Impressionism with the artist Mortimer Wilson Jr. in Arizona. Kirkpatrick passed away at age 65 in 2004.
Kirkpatrick’s estate has been diligently maintained by his family ever since his passing. His works, in fact, had been kept from public view for years. But just recently, his mother-in-law approached Baterbys Art Auction Gallery about carrying his paintings on a consignment basis, and today the firm has more than 200 of Kirkpatrick’s original paintings.
The fate of these valuable and rare works has yet to be determined. Baterbys has hinted some or all may come up for auction, but a final decision on that has not been made.
For now, the viewing public may enjoy at least some of Kirkpatrick’s artistic creations through Sept. 5 at the Maitland Art Center, located at 231 West Packwood Ave.
For more information about Baterbys Art Auction Gallery, to include their calendar of upcoming auction events, visit www.baterbys.com. They may also be reached via telephone at 866-537-0265. ?
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