Last week I was away at a conference in Windsor, Ontario. Whenever I visit another town I try to find some time to visit its used book stores. I'm always hopeful that some overlooked treasure will present itself to me - and that's what happened when I dropped in at Juniper Used Books in Windsor. I found these two slim mid-1960s volumes from the long-running Grumbacher Library series of art instruction booklets; The Art of Landscape Painting and The Art of Seascape Painting.
Several excellent artists share a couple of demos each in the pages of both books (and we'll revisit these volumes at another time to examine their work). But I was especially taken by the drawings and paintings of an artist named Albert Pucci.
There's a strong structural quality to Pucci's drawings I really liked. At the same time there's a nice stylization in his interpretation of the world he was observing that appeals to me on a level beyond my admiration for those artists who work in more 'literally real' styles.
I've included all the steps of Pucci's painting process for those who might find the instructions interesting and helpful (as I do)...
... and here's the finished painting, which really knocked me on my ass! Wow!
Whenever I see work this good - and from that '50s/'60s period - and the artist's name is entirely unfamiliar to me, I wonder how that could be. The next thing I do is start researching online.
Happily, I quickly discovered that someone has put together a website in honour of Albert Pucci, who died in 2005. There I found a biography and a wealth of photos, fine art, and even some illustration examples by the artist.
According to his biography, "Albert John Pucci was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 11, 1920. He moved to Brooklyn, New York at the age of three and would live in Brooklyn Heights for the next 80 years."
"Albert studied at the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts and then attended the Pratt Institute, where he would work as an instructor in figure drawing, and layout and design for 24 years."
"Albert Pucci’s first one-artist exhibition was held in 1954 at the Associated American Artists Galleries in Manhattan."
Among the many examples of Pucci's art at the website I was pleased to find a gallery of his book covers. Some truly wonderful stuff!
Since the website invites visitors to download the images in the gallery, I took the liberty of choosing a few for your enjoyment.
There's so much more at Albert Pucci's website, I hope you'll take a few minutes to explore it yourself!