Santa Fe, NM
Nedra Matteucci Galleries, November 14-December 31
This story was featured in the November 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story
Nedra Matteucci Galleries closes out the year with a landmark exhibition chronicling the seminal career of artist Robert Lougheed [1910-1982]. The show, which is titled Robert Lougheed: A Brilliant Life in Art, celebrates the legacy of the late artist and teacher who chose to eschew the commercial limelight but is nevertheless considered one of the foremost painters of his generation by patrons and aesthetes alike. Often termed “a painter’s painter,” the award-winning Lougheed had an innate ability to translate in two dimensions not only the concrete beauty of his subject matter but also its ineffable spirit.
The career-spanning exhibition opens Saturday, November 14, when the gallery hosts a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. The show and sale includes more than 80 oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings in a variety of sizes. The collection places special focus on Lougheed’s small, intimate oils, which perhaps most clearly demonstrate the artist’s ability to so eloquently convey the essence of his subject matter while painting onsite. “He could really capture that moment of light and atmosphere,” says the gallery’s Ann Brown. “And he got it right, all there in the field. I don’t think there was anyone better.”
The core of this exclusive exhibition comes from the collection of Lougheed’s good friend and patron, the late David Smith, who amassed the works over a period of several decades. Such an astute and personal collector’s perspective allows the gallery to showcase a thorough cross section of Lougheed’s work that exemplifies his contributions to the canon. Of the unprecedented assemblage, gallery owner Nedra Matteucci remarks, “It is an unusual opportunity to see the work of one artist, collected over decades with the vision of a single collector. I’m proud to present this full spectrum of some of Lougheed’s finest work. It is especially rewarding to celebrate Lougheed in Santa Fe, his adopted home, where he found his art and life flourished seamlessly.”
Early works depicting Lougheed’s native Canada appear in the show, alongside the artist’s later compositions that epitomize the American West and include wild and domestic animals, landscapes, scenes of ranch life, and modern cowboy culture. Always intrigued by direct observation, Lougheed worked in the field to record events firsthand. With a sense of polished immediacy, he immortalized the joy and beauty he found in his natural surroundings. Brown describes Lougheed as having “a real patience and tenacity” for painting outdoors. “He passionately painted from where he was in that moment,” she says. “And he loved every minute of it.”
Lougheed espoused a loose, impressionistic painting style from the beginning of his career and continually honed it over the years, perfecting elements of color, light, and emotion. Expressive lines and dynamic brushwork are the hallmarks of his canvases, which effectively mingle naturalistic figuration with a modernist sensibility. Wrapped in lush, effervescent light, the compositions also possess a unique atmospheric quality that serves to transport the viewer into the artist’s space and time, if not into his mindset. Robert Lougheed: A Brilliant Life in Art runs through December 31. —Elizabeth L. Delaney
Featured in the November 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art November2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
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