Lennart Anderson, “Still Life with Red Potatoes, Yams, Onion and Strainer” (1990), oil on canvas, with frame: 25 1/4 × 31 1/2 in. Delaware Art Museum, F. V. du Pont Acquisition Fund, 1990
As I was scheduled to be on a Zoom panel about the artist, I gave myself a lot of time to look at the exhibition Lennart Anderson: A Retrospective, at the NYSS Gallery (October 18-November 28, 2021). As I said on the panel, I felt like an interloper. I did not know Anderson. I never met him or heard him speak. Moreover, I came to his work late.
Many of the paintings in the exhibition were new to me. However, I had seen the painting “Still Life with Lion Head Mask and Spider Plant” (2006), and I was pulled toward it when I realized it was in the room. In an interview with Anderson, who had macular degeneration and was legally blind, A’Dora Phillips asked:
Up to when you lost central vision, you painted detailed still lifes from direct observation, along with figures and portraits. In the first few years after your eyes went, you did a few more still lifes of a lion’s mask, and they are entirely different from what preceded them. Did you have to modify your painting process significantly to complete your lion’s mask paintings? Did you work from direct observation, as you typically had?