Alive with color, this fantastic tempera painting by listed American artist Grover Chapman ( 1924 - 2000 ) vibrates with the saturated hues of sun drenched Rio de Janeiro remembered - and memory is often more vivid than reality, as I suspect is the case here. The colors are just gorgeous, and the medium has an immediate, almost childlike quality despite the rather sophisticated interplay of pattern, color, light, and shadow.
I've looked at this painting for a time now, and find the more I look, the more I see. There are little details that escape a first impression, but must have been quintessential to Chapman's memories of Rio - The sharply raking shadows that along with the bright blocks of color divide the canvas and direct the eye, the sweet scrollwork above the doorway, the patterns on the walls - bricks above and delightfully varied geometric designs below. Then there are more subtle touches - the division of the bulbous pillared railing on the roof into light and shadow, the tiny sewer grate on the face of the curb, the two figures in the shadows of the window above, and the little #4 in a plaque by a doorway. This is really a fantastic painting.
Chapman was born in Ashville in 1924. In 1947 he studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC where he met the Brazilian artist Isolda Hermes da Fonseca whom he married and with whom he had two daughters. Chapman then moved to New York where he studied at the Art Students League, but by 1950, he and Isloda went to Italy where they both attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence. In 1951 the couple moved to Rio de Janeiro where Chapman illustrated books and continued painting, including numerous murals. By the late 1960's Chapman was living in the US again, and this was the period during which this piece was painted in Palisades, New York - but as the title suggests, his spirit was still in Rio. Chapman returned to Rio and died there in 2000.
CONDITION is great, this is a fabulous painting. The frame shows a bit of expected wear. Painted in tempera, this piece must not get wet; it is not currently framed under protective glass, but this would be simple for any frame shop to do. Signed and dated "Grover Chapman 67" at the lower right corner, also signed, dated, and titled with additional information on the verso. Measures 27" x 23" overall, with a sight size of 23 1/2" x 19 1/2".
This beautiful painting will be a joy for years to come, there's a lot to love here. Enjoy!
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