Home Magazine Lost Works of Robert Bonaparte, an exhibition in the heart of Oklahoma.

The most transformative years of Bonaparte’s works showcased at 1515 Lincoln Gallery

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1515 Lincoln Gallery is happy to announce its exhibition opening on March 14th 2024, on view until 20th April 2024 in their location in the city of Oklahoma. This exhibition brings light on the states’ most enigmatic artist: Robert Bonaparte. It offers a unique perspective on Bonaparte’s vibrant, whimsical, and occasionally surreal artistic universe and insights on his legacy.

The story of Robert Bonaparte intertwines with the artistic trajectory of his childhood friend and neighbor, Ed Ruscha, during the years of the aftermath of post- WWII when Oklahoma city was blooming with cultural resurgences. Both artists, influenced by New Deal initiatives, found themselves drawn to the transformative power of art from an early age. Ruscha was introduced to the artistic practices through Bonaparte. In an interview for the Archives of American Art he stated: "Bob was able to draw very well...he drew cartoons and he introduced me to the first factor in my life with art, which was India ink." The relationship and synergy between the two artists brought them to the burgeoning Los Angeles art scene of the 1950s. While Ed Ruscha’s work became globally known, the works of Robert Bonaparte were more niche and found their way into small circles of collectors. The exhibition 1515 Lincoln Gallery is showcasing "Lost Works of Robert Bonaparte" seeks to bring his genius into the light, bringing to light a collection that spans the most transformative periods of his career.

Robert Bonaparte, Seated Figure, 1980. Courtesy of 1515 Lincoln Gallery

Robert Bonaparte was born in 1933 in Oklahoma City He emerged as a pivotal yet under-recognized figure in the abstract art scene. After graduating from the University of Arizona in 1956, Bonaparte's thirst for knowledge took him to Rome, Italy, where he furthered his studies in art, broadening his perspective and technique. In 1959, alongside a cohort of Oklahoma artists, he relocated to California, where his artistic expression flourished. Bonaparte's work, known for its vibrant landscapes and introspective still lifes, has graced galleries worldwide, from Galleria "La Vetrina" in Rome to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, Oklahoma, showcasing his international acclaim and versatility. Despite the quieter recognition compared to his contemporaries, Bonaparte's contributions to the art world are invaluable, with his "Lost Works" now unveiled, offering a deeper appreciation of his artistic legacy.

Robert Bonaparte, White Figure, 1980. Courtesy of 1515 Lincoln Gallery

1515 Lincoln Gallery Founder, Susan McCalmont founder of the 1515 Lincoln Gallery, stated that , when she first encountered this collection of paintings, she was overwhelmed by the talent of this relatively unknown Oklahoma artist and immediately recognized the importance of the work. She felt the need to share it with the public. As she tells, The mystery surrounding this elusive artist is unveiled through delicately painted still-lifes, landscapes, and surrealistic figures and objects. Bonaparte exhibits mastery in both line and color, with an aesthetic reminiscent of Milton Avery. Susan McCalmont is honored to present the mid-20th-century 'Lost Works of Robert Bonaparte' in her gallery and she is dedicated to celebrating the contributions of forgotten artists.

Cover image: Robert Bonaparte, Abstraction with Clouds, 1980. Courtesy of 1515 Lincoln Gallery

Written by Kooness

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