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Bernard Chaet (1924 - 2012)

Click photos to enlarge: 
Bernard Chaet, Purple Hat, 1992, oil on canvas 14 in x 10 inches (courtesy of LewAllen Galleries)

Painter and renowned Yale professor Bernard Chaet passed away Tuesday at the age of 88.

Best known as the author of the seminal book The Art of Drawing, Chaet influenced thousands of artists as a teacher and a painter.

A well worn volume in nearly every artist’s library, The Art of Drawing, communicates how the basics of drawing are, in fact, the basics of seeing, and how seeing underpins visual invention in masterworks from the Renaissance to modernism.

Chaet championed seeing as the gateway to invention in his paintings as well. Few contemporary painters have gotten so much of the world into their work. Nearly overflowing, his works shimmer and move. Reviewing a 2010 exhibition, Lance Esplund wrote that in Chaet’s paintings, “light sparkles through porous forms, which wrap and twist together as if earth, ocean and sky were a single organism.”

Chaet’s “more is more” approach to painting is an education in the boundless potential of observation. “Keep looking!” they seem to say. “There’s so much to see.”

Below is the online catalogue from the recent exhibition Bernard Chaet: Coastal Memories at LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, NM.