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KATRYN EARNHART | The Butlers The art of Tony Bennett gets a show



Published: Sun, May 27, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Beginning Friday at The Butler Institute of American Art Trumbull branch is the long-awaited exhibition of Italian landscape paintings by painter Tony Bennett.

The exhibition, organized by the Butler and sponsored by Foundation Medici, includes more than 30 works inspired by the terrain of Calabria, Venice, Rome, Tuscany and Florence rendered in both watercolor and oil mediums. Although reservations for Butler member events planned to honor the artist are now closed, the exhibition is on public view from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. beginning Friday and continuing Wednesday through Sunday. "Tony Bennett: The Italian Landscapes" closes July 22.

Treasure: Legendary singer Tony Bennett has been described as an American national treasure. Bennett, who has thrilled generations of fans worldwide for more than five decades with his singing, has also nurtured a lifelong passion for painting, and his art has earned international acclaim. Painting under his family name of Benedetto, he has created works that ranges from lush watercolors to vivid oils documenting his international travel, friends and family.

Bennett's first museum exhibition occurred in 1994 at The Butler in Youngstown. Since then, the work of Anthony Benedetto has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the world. A book of his paintings, "Tony Bennett: What My Heart Has Seen," which was published by Rizzoli International in 1996, features the Butler's permanent collection painting "Homage to Hockney," which the artist gifted to the institute in 1995. The book is now in its second printing.

The artist, who began his formal training as an art student at what is now known as the School of Art and Design (Manhattan), has continued his art studies with private studios and teachers including renowned portrait painter Everett Raymond Kinstler. Bennett's work has been featured in the noted art publications ArtNEWS, Art & amp; Antiques, International Artist and The Artist's Magazine. The artist is represented by Benedetto Arts LLC, New York City.

Poetry on canvas: "The Italian landscape, particularly the beautiful countryside of Tuscany, has brought forth from painter Tony Bennett a visual poetry in the landscape as sensitive and beautifully rendered as any accomplished in the post-war era," Dr. Louis Zona, Butler director, said.

"Bennett is clearly at home in this genre. But he is an artist who is not satisfied with a simple translation of subject to paper. For Tony Bennett, a painting's success rests with its ability to convey those intangibles which move beyond draftsmanship or technique. Successful painting stirs our senses and reminds us that art exists not only to amplify the beauty of nature but also to celebrate man's ability to be uncover nature's mysteries as well as its wondrous subtleties."

Visions series: The next installment of the popular PBS American Visions Series will be screened at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Butler's Zona Auditorium in Youngstown. Titled "The Gilded Age," the one-hour film features host Robert Hughes, art critic for Time, confronting the aftermath of the American Civil War and its effect upon a culture nostalgic for lost heroes and simpler times.

Still lifes by John Frederick Peto, remembered childhood images by Winslow Homer, and the realism of Thomas Eakins are featured, along with architect Louis Sullivan's "Vertical City" and the establishment of American museums. Other American Visions chapters will be seen in the auditorium at 1:30 p.m. June 6, 13, 20 and 27. The series is courtesy of PBS 45/49.

XHours in Youngstown are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Hours at the Trumbull branch are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Salem hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to all three facilities is free.




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