10.26.2010

Rupert Jasen Smith

silkscreen

silkscreensignature

Mystery solved! After a long year of wondering who made this awesome diamond-dusted silkscreen Linda bought at a flea market, her intermittent Googling has finally paid off. Rupert Jasen Smith (not "Papa Josabeth" after all-phew!) was Andy Warhol's silkscreener/master printmaker/art director from the mid 70's until Warhol's death in 1987. Smith introduced the diamond dust into Warhol's silkscreens, and Warhol's line about that was "the diamond dust fell off Rupert's paintings and stuck to mine." 

a bio:
Rupert Jasen Smith was born in 1953 in New Jersey and died in 1988. He was raised in Palm beach, Florida. Smith received his bachelor of arts degree from Pratt Institute, New York City in 1973, in painting and printmaking. Shortly thereafter, he was offered the position of master printer at Tamarind Institute in Los Angeles, but declined, deciding to work independently in New York. Smith had spent most of his childhood intrigued by the tropical, lush surroundings indigenous to Florida and began painting and studied under the American landscape painter, A. E. Bakus. Surface quality became a significant aspect of his paintings and he experimented with illuminating a dimensional source within and on top of his canvases, eventually leading to the application of diamond dust particles onto his surfaces to enhance the prismatic properties of light and color. In 1974, Smith met Andy Warhol and assisted him with his hand-painted flowers editions. Smith was accepted formally by Warhol as his master printer and art director. Their collaborations expanded and Rupert worked with contemporary notables including Rauchenberg, Jenkins, Stella, Johns, and John Lennon. In 1975, Smith worked on the Merce Cunningham set for "Summer Space", designed by Rauchenberg and Johns. While continuing his position with Warhol, Smith devoted more time to developing his own art career and had numerous shows in prominent galleries, both in the U.S. and Europe. Elegant colors that remind one of the abstract expressionist paintings of the late 50's combined with a photo-pop transfiguration spiral Smith's works into a shimmering display of real and simulated lighting. A partial list of private collectors of his work prior to his death included: Julie Christie, Halston, Jenkins, Mick Jagger, Grace Jones, John Lennon, Rauchenberg, and Warhol.


 So it was a pretty fun discovery, worth the wait, and far more exciting than a Papat Jambul.

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