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Realism’s Allure: Walter R. Garver, Donald R. Haug and Catherine Catanzaro Koenig

On View Saturday, July 12–Sunday, September 28, 2003

Catherine Catanzaro Koenig, Walter R. Garver, and Donald R. Haug, contemporaries of one another, entered art schools in the 1940s and 50s. At a time when many American painters looked to European abstraction for their inspiration, these artists sought to define their world differently. Bowler hats, sensual nudes and broken eggshells populate the surfaces of Koenig’s works. They are dreamlike and otherworldly referencing the imagery of Belgium surrealist, René Magritte. In contrast, Garver places us in this world on Buffalo’s waterfront and city streets producing abstracted realist paintings with the coolness of Edward Hopper and the precision of seventeenth-century Dutch interiors. Haug, described as a skilled practitioner of the art of deception, used flat objects—envelopes, photographs, leather strips—meticulously painted on flat planes. The eye is tricked or fooled as in French trompe l’oeil paintings. The illusion created is so strong we are tempted to pluck a pen off the canvas.

Support for this exhibition was provided by the Frances G. Churchill Fund and the Cameron Baird Foundation, with additional support from an anonymous donor. Works representing the long and successful careers of these artists were on view from July 12-September 28, 2003. In tandem, the University at Buffalo’s Anderson Gallery presented a solo exhibition of art by Catherine Catanzaro Koenig from May 30-October 12.