While there may be a “lag” in some respects, one look at this painting, “Headin’ to the Barn” by Dick Van Duzer, makes me think happy times are here again. The weather tells me there is renewal and rebirth, and this painting reminds me that if we have a red barn to walk to with the sheep, all is well.
Riverrun Gallery is hosting an exhibit of the work of the late Dick Van Duzer through April 18.
Dick Van Duzer (1927-2009) began his interest in the natural world in childhood. Growing up on Staten Island, he tended the flowers and animals on his grandfather’s farm and formed the fascinations that would later inspire the subjects he painted.
His aesthetic attraction was formalized through the study of fine art, classical music and ceramics at Syracuse University. After graduation he worked as a florist in New York City. Later he and partner, Ted Garrison, opened their own floral boutique, an acclaimed success that catered to a particular clientele for 20 years. Their artistry graced many of the best-dressed drawing rooms in the city. With his characteristic understated manner, he credited his clients with inspiring him and expanding his horizon for an artistic approach.
For years a dynamic speaker in horticultural circles, Mr. Van Duzer lectured to professional associations and dedicated amateurs. During travels to Japan to communicate Western design techniques he developed an appreciation for the aesthetic of shibui, the Japanese ideal of simple, subtle, and understated beauty.
Working frequently in the Delaware Valley to create installations in clients’ country homes, he was enamored with the bucolic charm of the area and the partners relocated their shop to Frenchtown, NJ. Their Philadelphia Flower Show garden exhibits, distinguished by hand-painted background murals, won six Best of Show awards for the North American Rock Garden Society.
During retirement, Mr. Van Duzer painted full time reserving enough time to tend the natural beauty of his well-known garden in Pipersville, Pa. Nature and rural subjects inspired his landscapes and his own garden provided bountiful subject matter for still life paintings. “I guess Impressionism is the term that best describes my style,” he said. “I admire the work of Pissarro, Corot and Cézanne. When I begin a painting I have an idea in my head, but after the first brush stroke the painting assumes a life of its own.”
River Run Gallery is located at 287 South Main St., Lambertville. Hours noon – 5 p.m., closed Tuesday. 609-397-3349; www.riverrungallery.net.