born, New York zcity based realist, figurative painter is this generation’s version of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec– the iconic, late 19th French post-Impressionist painter and illustrator who defined an era with his elaborately elegant, provocative and often decadent whimsy of the 1800’s Paris beau-monde.
After a riveting visit to his work studio overlooking Union Square in Lower Manhattan which naturally lent the opportunity to truly absorb his large-scale, multi-figurative oil paintings caught between realism and surrealism and which have
found homes in the personal art collections from celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg to art world gorgons like Iris Kantor the grand dame of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who of course, has an entire wing at the world famous New York City museum named after her! And so, the artist and the writer sat in the park where he offered further discourse on his artistic reason to be.
Alexander Klingspor paints from live models supplemented with the flexible tools of an artist at the top of his game: anatomical knowledge, compositional problem solving combined with the rich dream like aesthete — which are all tools of this artists psychological visual grammar.
Alexander Klingspor was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1977 and moved to New York City at the dawn of the 21st Century. ‘’I have been painting and drawing my whole life and got serious about it when I was sixteen. I started out as an illustrator where he first apprenticed for one of Sweden’s legendary illustrators Michael Boston who then arranged for him to come to America for the first time as a 20-year-old to live in Kansas City, Missouri and apprentice for two of America’s leading illustrators Mark English and John English who gained fame with the hallowed blue chip American brand known as Hallmark.’’
But fine art was always his first love and pursuit. ‘’I wanted to master how Rembrandt painted,’’ he whispered confidently sitting on a park bench in Union Square one flawless Spring day of 2017. ‘’And so I found this teacher Magnus Bratt, a master copyist of 16th and 17th Century paintings who has worked with major museums all over the world restoring vintage paintings. And so I studied with Magnus Bratt for several years and by doing that I found my voice as a painter. And I consider myself a narrative painter. I paint from a psychological internal battle with myself. It is a constant quest to define my own psychological state.’’
We can only hope he doesn’t go run off and chop off his ear a-la-Van-Gogh in a fit of artistic angst. It is nonetheless safe to say that the artist Klingspor is not at all afraid to delve, or for that matter discuss, the sometimes dark recesses of his psyche to which he plumbs all for the sake of his craft.
‘’When I moved to New York City in 2008, I first lived in Chinatown where I discovered the burlesque scene and the seedy night life of the Lower East Side.
The city was changing and so i set out to document as much as possible the seedy joints that were about to give way to modern condo developments. So I would bring a camera and my sketch book and recall in my own way the feeling and ephemera of these seedy places. When you live in a large city such as New York in a world of such consumerist frenzy–everything becomes a product– and I love exploring the further reaches of my mind.’’
There is no denying however the immediate signifiers, influencers of his highly stylized work. ‘’The Old Masters–Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Tierpolo. I look at all the renaissance masters, especially Peter Paul Rubens. I just love the sense of hysteria throughout his paintings. But I also deal with the reality of what surrounds me and so I am constantly grasping to bring to canvas the thoughts and the imaginings playing out of my sub-consciousness.’’
It should thus not surprise the reader then that pain, pleasure, sex and death are never far below the surface of his still surfaces. From his lavish/trashy dinner party series to his austere foreboding nature and cityscapes– Alexander Klingspor is clearly an artist with his own inimitable unsettling and idiosyncratic point of view.
And so as the artist begins the earnest preparation for a full-scale retrospective of over 70 of his most iconic works which will go on exhibition from March 3 to May 27, 2017 at the Prince Eugen Waldermarsudde Museum in Stockholm, Sweden next year.