The Exciting Lives and Times of 20th Century American Expatriates
Picture this environment:
In 1936, a Boston-accented, French-speaking, blue-eyed young man painted figures and landscapes effortlessly in the oil-soaked studios at Yale. His frame was lanky; his hair blond.He joked about any matter at hand to keep his comrades amused, but was dead serious about his work. He was on scholarship and had no time to waste. Yet he fell in love with a Midwestern woman: She was a tall, broad-shouldered, brown-eyed, black-haired beauty who sat across from him in drawing class. She too was serious about her work, but wasnt as gifted. He would come over and encourage her after the teachers gave their daily damaging critiques.
He graduated at the top of his class with another full-year scholarship in hand to live onand proposed to her. She came from a bankers family; he from an undertakers. She was Christian Science, with German-Scotch heritage; he an atheist and former French-Catholic. They talked about art for hours. Every step they took togetherfrom Yale to Tortola, Virgin Islands, to post-WWII, ravaged Germany, and finally to Mexico in 1970was about his art and all art. He worked tirelessly creating compositions, breaking barriers, testing new ideas. She found the people, gallerists, collectors, museum directors, and other artists to appreciate him. Their bond was tight. Paul and Virginia Fontaine were a team for over fifty years, each secure in their own gifts and strengths.
Creating art is not an isolated act. Artists internalize environments and their genius gives rise to new ones, impacting even more artists.
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