By Mackie Healy, Art Market Views Contributor
Abstract Expressionist painter Nicolas Carone died last Thursday at the age of 93.
Born June 4, 1917, in New York, Carone was raised in Hoboken, New Jersey. At age 10, he began commuting to New York for nightly art classes at the Leonardo da Vinci Art School, a small studio school in a church on St. Marks Place. His peers at the Da Vinci School included sculptors Isamu Noguchi, Peter Agostini and Conrad Marca-Relli.
Later Carone worked part-time as a model at the Art Students League, serving as the subject for artists such as William Zorach, Isabel Bishop and Rico Lebrun.
Following a stint in the army, he traveled to Italy where he received a Fulbright Fellowship and held his first ever exhibition in Rome in 1949.
Upon returning to New York, he worked for three years as assistant director of the new 58th street Stable Gallery, owed by Eleanor Ward. He exhibited with the Stable Gallery, and then Staempfli Gallery, until the early 1960s.
Carone was pals with Jackson Pollock, Hans Hoffman and Arshile Gorky. He considered Roberto Matta to be “one of the greatest influences” on his life and work.
He painted for over 70 years and also taught. “For me, teaching is creative,” he said in a 1968 interview with Paul Cummings, conducted by the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art. (Read that interview here.)
Carone taught at New York’s Cooper Union, Columbia University, Yale University and became a founding member of the New York Studio School. In 1988, he established the International School of Art in Umbria, Italy, where he taught drawing, painting and sculpture classes.
Carone’s work is owned by the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Baltimore Museum of Art.
His visibility faltered during a forty year period when he ceased exhibiting, from 1962 and 2005. A 2008 exhibit at the Washburn Gallery, featuring recent work by the 90-year-old artist, was described in a Brooklyn Rail review as “nothing short of miraculous.”
In 2009, Carone received the Lee Krasner Lifetime Achievement Award.
An exhibit of Carone’s rhythmic paintings from the 1950s, revealing a De Kooning influence, is on view at the Washburn Gallery in New York until July 30. UPDATE: Carone’s works on paper and sculpture are represented by the Lohin Geduld Gallery, who helped reintroduce Carone with a 2005 show.
Carone was predeceased by his first wife, Nell Mager, and second wife, Adele Bishop. He is survived by three children: Christian Carone, Brooklyn, NY; Claude Carone, Claverack, NY; and David Hart, Fort Wayne, Indiana, as well as a sister and two brothers.
A memorial will be held in the fall.