HN ART COLLECTION  soon to be for sale, is pictured above as part of it's own past. These people have been communicating for 30 years. Already they're telling me they don't want to be sold.

HNARTCOLLECTION soon to be for sale, is pictured above as part of it's own past. These people have been communicating for 30 years. Already they're telling me they don't want to be sold.

PAINTINGS — to see, to inquire, to buy — talk to  Henry    805 331-3233

More portraits in the collection. These people also resent  me for selling them.

More portraits in the collection. These people also resent  me for selling them.

Also office wall space in another building. Muhammed Ali and friends speak of nothing else. You would do that to us?

Also office wall space in another building. Muhammed Ali and friends speak of nothing else. You would do that to us?

Henry with Canon 70D at the ready

Henry with Canon 70D at the ready

These people are introspective, meditative, even humble. Nevertheless, they want  answers. Where are we going to go?

These people are introspective, meditative, even humble. Nevertheless, they want  answers. Where are we going to go?

These ladies are a collection within a collection. Many of them are not happy.

These ladies are a collection within a collection. Many of them are not happy.

This is Judge Weeks, from Laguna, painted in 1930 by Karl Jens, who also was his friend. 60x50. An important portrait.

This is Judge Weeks, from Laguna, painted in 1930 by Karl Jens, who also was his friend. 60x50. An important portrait.

 

Why this WEBSITE? 

By HENRY NULL 

This website is a catalogue preview of paintings I've collected  over the last 35 years. During this time I was a gardener and landscaper in Santa Barbara. (See theromanticgardenco.com)

My collection has around 75 paintings. There are a few coming attractions being restored and cleaned. After an appraisal the collection will be for sale. Right now I want people to see the paintings and comment on them. I'm hoping additional insights and info will emerge, and I'm looking for more bio data on artists, most of whom are dead. A special interest is Antonia Greene, Santa Barbara portrait artist from 1929 to 1957, the year she died. There is a separate navigation page for her work and I left a link at the end  of this text for any info on her life or her paintings, many  of which remain in Santa Barbara.

This website  also allows me to play Sister Wendy. I was a big fan of her TV traipsing through the Tate and  National Portrait Gallery, dressed in her Carmelite habit and holding forth on the obvious and not so obvious meanings in paintings.  Sister Wendy was a TV personality and surely had a distinctive and telling way, explaining what is there for everybody to see. Yet not everyone sees what she does. Nor do I have a TV crew and audio assistant to tell my story. I'm just going to make the best of it with the written word. 

How it began

My first painting, around 1985 was not a purchase, but given to me in an odd and surprising trade. I owned a 19th century metal type cabinet which was on consignment to a Santa Barbara antiques store. The store's owner sold the store without telling me. I forgot about the type cabinet, remembered it later and went to the store and found the  new owner.  Who said sorry,  I sold that without knowing it was yours. To make amends, she said take any one item in the store you want. I picked a 19th century portrait of a man who vaguely reminded me of me. Which led to research on that painting. Which piqued my curiosity and motivated me to become  my own curator.

The Sister Wendy impulse

From that painting on I  expanded artistic understanding  by  observing internal pressures on my curiosity. I was after meaning or info that contributed to meaning. I never had a specific collection goal, like stamp collectors who must fill in those printed perimeters with the right stamp.   I never  felt a need to acquire art as  a compulsive obsession.  But I did want to fill in some blanks of understanding. Which brought on the Sister Wendy impulse.   I own no abstract expressionist art, but I appreciate it generally. Its just that I never saw abstract art around here that spoke to me (or that I could afford.). I've been to Butterfield auctions and felt comfortable there but never bought anything. I simply reacted  randomly to art sightings, mostly in Santa Barbara.  Art dealers would call me once in a while and say "I have something  you might be interested in." I did buy a few paintings during the early days of eBay but that ended pretty quickly  when eBay became too crowded for my taste.

Collecting as a concept

I became attracted to these paintings as a kind of evolving sideline.   I admit I am a collector but I'm not sure exactly what that defines, beyond the obvious. Sometimes I think of collecting as a telescope looking at the past. Paintings  speak of connections  to  times past and  stories unknown. They often are   revelations that connect me to  creativity by someone somewhere. If so, my connection to it has been an impulse at a single moment. Once I saw an item in the Santa Barbara Art Museum news bulletin. It suggested that those interested could join an Art Collectors club affiliated with the SBMA. I had a friend who then was the Museum's 19th century art curator.  I asked him what the Art Collectors club was. "You don't need them," he said, a single sentence of judgment. That's the closest I've been to organized art collecting.  My approach has been impulse buying, then efforts at understanding what I bought.

Innocent X and Girl With a Hat

I have no masterpieces. Wait a minute: I do have an artist's study  of Pope Innocent X, a copy of a famous Velasquez portrait. Check out his eyes in my painting. And by the way, he wasn't so innocent. Plus  a painted copy of Renoir's girl with a hat.  

What I do have:  paintings skillfully done that emit distinctive psychological  and  graphic messages. I  became interested primarily in portraits, and not much at all  in landscapes. I  have a couple  intriguing cityscapes and a remarkable U.S. luminist school seascape. I came to appreciate artistic skill and style far more than thematic or subjective  ideas. 

Click on the gallery paintings that interest you and the close-up photo will appear.  

henry@theromanticgardenco.com