Salmagundi Art Club of New York


The Full Virgona: Works by Hank Virgona
Bar, December 02, 2018 - December 16, 2018

Gallery Hours:
Mon. Fri., 1pm - 6pm
Sat. & Sun., 1pm - 5pm
The exhibit will be closed on Friday, December 14, for a private event.

When Hank Virgona was young, this son of Sicilian immigrants considered the priesthood, wanting "a small room of my own.” Instead, he became a world-class artist with a small studio in Union Square, Manhattan, to which he has commuted six days a week for the last 60 years from his home in Queens.

His almost monastic life has been devoted to making everyday objects come miraculously alive — America’s Morandi — and breathing vivid life into the people he’s sketched on the subway on his way into his “office.” His studio is filled with simple objects depicted over and again. He recently showed a visitor dozens of sketches of a salt shaker he made until he “got it right.”

“They feed you,” Hank says. “They nourish you, these little things that are all around.”

His transcendent oils, watercolors, collages and etchings of these little things and people are in permanent collections at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of the City of New York, and The Smithsonian among many others. He has had more than two dozen one-man shows, but none in 20 years, and numbers among his collectors actors Bernadette Peters, Billy Crystal and George Stephanopoulos.

Eighty-nine years old and battling a host of ailments, Virgona struggles these days to make it to his studio, where his art is the best medicine.

“I complain a lot about the pain I keep feeling,” he admits, “but when I do something and say ‘This is really something,’ all that pain goes away.” His life is a testament to life, to finding beauty everywhere in it, and sharing that beauty with others through his miniature masterpieces. “I just feel so good about how some of these simple things affected me,” he says. “And I’d like other people to feel that.”

Now is your chance to feel “The Full Virgona.” Colleagues and collectors have arranged a one-man show of Hank's work, most never before exhibited.

Take advantage of this rare opportunity to meet the artist himself and bring a little Virgona into your life while bringing joy into his.


From Hank Virgona himself:

"An epiphany is the sudden unexpected understanding of a thought through no effort, which brings one great insight and joy. When you see a piece of my work, you feel something. Hopefully it’s a good feeling. I describe this as the 'sense of things' or the 'sense of the person' – that he or she 'looks right.' You might say that’s Gloria, that’s Jim, that’s a banana or that’s an apple, but I’m not drawing Gloria or Jim or a banana or an apple, I’m drawing how I FEEL about them. And so I come in every day in the hopes of making a discovery. How do I get some marks on the paper where most people believe it's Gloria, or a banana, or an apple? If I can, I have succeeded. I have conveyed the epiphany to another."





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