January 31, 2013

From Alsace to Adirondacks with color

Port Douglas artist finds inspiration between mediums


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Jean-Jacques Duval begins his day artfully.

He rises early to enter his Port Douglas studio to draw or paint.

“When it gets into the afternoon, I get tired,” said the octogenarian and native of Strasbourg, France. “By 3 p.m., my day is pretty much shot.”

But what he accomplishes would put many a quarter of his age to shame. 

When the acclaimed designer of architectural stained glass is not working on national and international commissions, he’s translating sections of his glass-art images on canvas.

Earlier in his career, his paintings influenced his glass art. Now, it is the converse.

New work painted in the last two years comprise “An Alsatian Celebration with Jean-Jacques Duval,” an exhibition through March 24 at the Joseph and Joan Burke Gallery, Myers Fine Arts Building, SUNY Plattsburgh.

A reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the college.

“It’s all abstract, just the style may change a little. There is a big one there, 77 (inches) by 100 inches. There is a work on paper, 18 (inches) by 100 (inches) or something, I brought back from the gallery (Beaux-arts des Ameriques) in Montreal. It’s on loan from Jackie’s (Jacqueline Hebert Stoneberger) gallery up there,” Duval said.

The exhibit also includes photographs and sculptures made from the thick and luminous faceted glass, or dalle de verre. He was one of the first designers to use it in his glass art in the United States.

In 1950, Duval came here to work at a significant art-glass studio. He arrived in New York City at an exciting time. His studio was located on 15th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue.

“I was teaching at the New School for Social Research on 12th Street,” Duval said. “I was teaching stained glass.”

He and his painter-writer wife, the late Elga Liverman Duval (daughter of a Lane Bryant CEO), were among a hip circle, which included Virginia Holton Admiral (painter/poet/Elga’s typist and Robert DeNiro’s mother); author Dylan Thomas; composer John Cage; and artists Zero Mostel, William Hayter, Helen Phillips, John Gage, Willem de Kooning and Adolph Gottlieb.

Gottlieb and de Kooning were among those who encouraged Duval to paint.

Nicolas de Stael (1914-1955), a French national of Russian origin, is Duval’s major influence.

He was introduced to de Stael’s work by the late Stephen Hahn, a distinguished New York dealer of impressionist and modern European master works, at the Wally Findlay Gallery in Manhattan.

“He (Hahn) had two or three de Stael paintings there,” Duval said. “I was very impressed by that. I looked it up, and I saw some more. It was something that really appealed to me.”

Duval likes the ease of acrylic as a painting medium. For his inspiration, he looks to his stained-glass oeuvre.

“I do a quick sketch from that,” he said. “I start painting. Of course, it doesn’t come out exactly the way the sketch comes out. It’s just the starting point. I just keep going on it.”

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IF YOU GO WHAT: "An Alsatian Celebration with Jean-Jacques Duval." WHEN: Exhibit opening is from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday. WHERE: Joseph and Joan Burke Gallery, Myers Fine Arts Building, SUNY Plattsburgh.