The Block Island Times

Bernard Lamotte at Aurora

Aug 01, 2014
Photo by: Kennedy Library Bernard Lamotte painting the pool at the White House during the Kennedy Administration.

The Aurora Gallery will host a unique exhibition featuring the work of renowned French artist Bernard Lamotte from Aug. 2 until Aug. 9. This exhibition will feature a variety of works by Lamotte, including vibrant paintings from his time in Paris and New York in the 1930s and 1940s. The exhibition will be supported by archival material from the estate of Bernard Lamotte, including sketches, notebooks, and illustrated books.

Doors will open at 10 a.m. each day of the show.

The Aurora Gallery exhibition is organized and hosted by the Sisto family, members of the Block Island community for five generations. Lamotte’s wife, Lilyan White Kent, was the aunt of the late Jack Sisto. Jack’s wife Theresa and the Sisto family are presenting the works from the estate.

“Bernard hoped that his works would be viewed out in the world, and in keeping with our family’s dedication to his fulfilling this commitment, we are pleased to host this exhibition,” said Theresa Sisto. “Bernard and Lilyan so enjoyed their visits to Block Island. I know Bernard would have been honored to show his work here.” The paintings exhibited will be for sale.

Born in 1903 in Paris, Lamotte was a child of the school of Paris, a tight-knit community of European artists who contributed to the most advanced aesthetic concepts of the time. Rather than focusing on major monuments or tourist attractions like his peers, Lamotte had the foresight to represent everydays scenes filled with people amidst city streets, parks, and cafes.

Lamotte’s style — modern with a flair for the romantic — beautifully captures modern daily life during his travels in Paris, New York, Tahiti, and Asia. Lamotte is highly regarded for his profound understanding and masterful handling of light, enchanting viewers with subtle variations in color and deft application of the brush.

After studying for six years at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Lamotte spent some time in Tahiti, then emigrated to New York in 1935. His studio above La Grenouille Restaurant became a popular gathering place for writers, actors, and painters eager to partake in an atmosphere reminiscent of Montparnasse, a neighborhood on the left bank of the Seine that was famous for its intellectuals and artists. Author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote the classic “Le Petit Prince” in Lamotte’s New York studio in the 1940s. With his American wife, Lilyan, who was also an artist, Lamotte traveled widely and carefully recorded his observations in sketches and photographs that provided the bases for his canvases. His paintings are infused with Lamotte’s own charm and good humor.

The Aurora Gallery, Water Street, Block Island, R.I. The gallery is located on the second floor above the Post Office. The exhibition will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.



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