- Francesco Clemente, Italian, 1952-
- Born: Naples, Italy
- Work Locations: New York, NY; India
See more objects from the Logan Collection.
Portrait of Kent Logan and Vicki Logan, 2005
Oil paint on canvas
Gift from Vicki and Kent Logan to the Collection of the Denver Art Museum, 2016.291
© Francesco Clemente
Francesco Clemente’s practice has a dual focus: his art work must relate to the human body and its creation must be spontaneous in spirit, allowing the artist to remain open to every experience that comes his way. For Clemente, these are the starting points for his vivid inventions in color, form, and feeling. The artist painted the "Portrait of Kent and Vicki Logan" in 2005 in a single studio sitting. Prior to the Logans's arrival to his studio, Clemente gave them a single instruction: wear party clothes. What follows is an excerpt from the DAM’s exhibition catalog "RADAR: Selections from the Collection of Vicki and Kent Logan", in which Vicki Logan shares a firsthand account and intimate glimpse into the artist’s process - of their experience being painted by the famed artist in his studio.
"One Monday in May 2005, Kent and I spent about seven hours in Francesco Clemente’s studio having our portrait painted…Francesco did not allow us to see the painting as it progressed. He had primed the canvas before our arrival. We sat on a sofa and he looked at us—for a long time. We were both self-conscious —he wasn’t going to pose us, just wait until he saw something he liked. The portrait actually came from a gesture we made—holding hands. He then began to work, asking his studio assistant to mix colors—his palette is a section of the "New York Times", folded in half. We could tell what he was working on by the colors he used, but still we weren’t able to watch the portrait develop. No smiling allowed, although we did talk a bit as he worked. By midday, he was finished with me and we took a break. I had sat, and then laid down on my stomach with my legs in the air— the finished pose never happened in one move. It’s really more surreal of me at least, wrapped around the canvas. Kent’s likeness came next. One of my favorite parts is the treatment of his tie. It’s “cloud animals” with clouds, sheep, dolphins, and ducks in an overall pattern that Francesco chose to reduce to just a few shapes. By 4pm Francesco was painting in the background. And there it was—completed in just one sitting of a few hours. I like to think he captured our characters. It’s recognizably both Clemente and us."