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Eyvind Earle  is one of the many artists that we feature at Doubletake Gallery, a premier fine art consignment gallery. Along with many works by Eyvind Earle, you'll find hundreds of other treasures at the Doubletake Gallery website, one of the easiest to use, most content rich art gallery websites on the Internet. Enjoy your visit!

Artist's Biography

In one brief act of light and shadow, nature can become striking and beautiful. A tree outlined by the setting sun--its bark scored deeper by shadows and its whole shape thrown into silhouette---is somehow more than a tree. Its image haunts us, and we look afterward to find the same magic in other trunks and branches. Photographers speak of sitting with camera and tripod all day to catch the right light, so that a picture will come alive. This is the light with which Eyvind Earle imbues his landscapes.

Earle's paintings and his serigraphs--screen prints which use paint films rather than printing-ink stains in the color areas, constitute a single body of work, for each of the prints he has published through Circle Galleries and Hammer Publishing is based closely on a painting, and all but two are landscapes. Large geometric forms predominate: trees pressed flat against the foreground, angular barns, and the receding curves of the horizon. On these forms, Earle imposes detail that is both realistic and decorative, hinting here of the Flemish Masters, there of the Japanese printmakers: scored bark, weathered planks, the tracery of shadows.

This fusion of realism with design removes his landscapes to a supernatural realm. Many scenes are unmistakably Californian; yet the viewer senses right away that they are not of this world. Branches may at one time have been twisted by wind or weather, but each scene is now completely still. We never see the sun; yet Earle makes its presence tellingly felt, often placing one large tree directly against the source of light. The trunk both shows off the brightness and obscures it, enhancing the mood of mystery.

Over the years, critics have praised Earle's technique, noting his delicate glazes and meticulous attention to detail. Whether painting or printmaking, Earle shows that he has studied his medium and knows its every nuance. However, the real power of his art comes from a profound conviction of beauty. The French landscapist Pierre Henri de Valenciennes once wrote that the greatest artists are those who, "by closing their eyes, have seen Nature in her ideal form, clad in the riches of the imagination." Earle captures the spirit of his subjects. Joining vision and artistry, he makes us feel the majesty of lone trees and the ghostly presence of evening shadows extending across a field. Since 1978, Earle has lived with his second wife, Joan, in a three-story house in the woods of Westchester County, New York. Just behind their home runs a stream, regulated by a weir which creates a pleasant waterfall. If he wanted to paint from life, Earle would need only to step out the door. But for years now, the pictures, as he puts it, "have simply come out of me, like speech. Pattern develops by itself, and I let the creative spirit within do the creating."

Inside, the walls of every room are hung with paintings, turning the house into a gallery of the imagination. Any Earle painting is galvanizing at first sight, and 65 of them are difficult to absorb at once. Yet a peacefulness follows the initial impact, and the artist appears to draw refreshment from contemplating his own work.

"I have a painting of a tree hanging over the couch right now," he says, pointing. "Every evening, when I put out the light and look at it, I'm amazed at anyone having done such a painting and wonder why I was given the chance. It started as a eucalyptus tree, but it's not one anymore--although it's not any other tree. It's a eucalyptus multiplied by a thousand. Make something out of that."

A converted three-car garage next to the house serves as Earle's studio, and it is already too small for his projects. In January 1982, as if to mark the beginning of a new year, he called a temporary halt to painting, assembled new screen-printing equipment, and began to make prints entirely on his own, retaining Hammer Publishing as his distributor. Earle does his own color separations, as he has done since the early 1970s when he first contracted with Circle Galleries to publish large serigraphs from his designs and to distribute them nationally. "I have a tendency to be like my father," he admits. "I want to do everything by myself. The minute I get into something, I have to go the limit. If I started to sculpt in clay or stone, I could so easily abandon all other forms of art."

Earle's father, Ferdinand, was a professional painter who studied with Adolphe William Bouguereau and James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Ferdinand Earle groomed his son as an artist from childhood, undertaking the boy's education with an old-school emphasis on practice making perfect. At the age of ten, Eyvind Earle's parents divorced, and his father hauled him off from California, first taking him to Mexico City, then on junkets around Europe. Once abroad, Ferdinand set his son a choice: read 50 pages or paint a picture--daily. Eyvind chose to paint, and the two would work together each day on the same subject. "He never explained anything," Earle recalls. "I would always finish long before he did, so I would simply stand and watch him for hours."

By the time the artist was 14, he was good enough to have a public showing in Ascain, a small town in the south of France. "I really had very little talent," he admits, "but at the time, I was quite conceited. Everybody said 'ooh' and 'ah,' because no other kid had done hundreds of paintings."

Several months later, Earle ran away from his father, using shopping money to buy a train ticket to Paris. With the help of his half-brother, Harold, Earle returned to the U.S., joining his mother in Hollywood. During the next seven years, Earle squeezed through the Great Depression earning nickels after school by painting house numbers on curbs and by taking on chores such as roofing and mixing concrete. The Depression years were interspersed with a few strokes of good fortune, as in 1936 when Grace Tibbet, wife of the opera singer Lawrence Tibbet, offered him $25 a month to go to Mexico and paint for a year. Before receiving this commission, Earle had managed to become, for a time, an assistant sketch artist at the United Artists studio--foreshadowing the years he would spend in the 1950s working for Walt Disney {beginning as a background painter and rising quickly to the position of art director on Sleeping Beauty} and the years after he left Disney to produce, paint, and photograph animated films and commercials with his own company.

In 1937, at the age of 21, Earle set out for New York on his bicycle, painting a watercolor on each of the 42 days it took him to cross the continent. Only a year later, the Charles Morgan Galleries held a show of the paintings to critical acclaim, and the gallery continued to show his work each year. In 1940, The Metropolitan Museum of Art bought one of his watercolors for its permanent collection. That painting, entitled Weatherbeaten, depicts a lone farmhouse and a stand of bare trees, with the spring snow beginning to thaw into patches of mud. The scene lacks the visionary quality of Earle's mature work, but long fingers of shadow and one gaunt tree hint at his later landscapes.

1940 was also the year when Earle began his work with serigraphy. In Stamford, Connecticut, he founded his own Christmas card company, designing the cards and making them himself. At first, he printed by hand from linoleum blocks, then graduated to screen printing as well. "I never had a lesson in serigraphy," he confesses happily. "I learned by doing the Christmas cards. You go to the store and buy the materials, and you get a little instruction book. It isn't very complicated."

Earle's life of screen printing cards was interrupted in 1943, when he was drafted, but after two years of service, he returned to New York and soon afterward was creating designs for the American Artists Group, a greeting card firm. The company has since sold millions of cards, reproducing over 600 of Earle's designs.

"I've found," says Earle, "that the wonderful thing about screen printing is the inventiveness you can exercise with it. You can decide to do a thousand things as you print, like those thin, transparent glazes that shade from light to dark, or from a color to totally transparent. You can do things yon couldn't do any other way. Try grading the color along a narrow line of paint! You can imitate a painting with a screen print, but you can't imitate a screen print with a painting.

"I no longer copy paintings, but make up completely new pictures as I go along. Many times I add things, just as if I were painting, and I don't know what a picture's going to be like until it's done. Perhaps I should give the result a new name--'screen paintings.' These may be my art form, as wood-block prints were for the Japanese."

Invited to describe his creative process more fully, Earle speaks in mystical terms. A student of yoga since the age of 16, he began work for many years by meditating and then rushing to the canvas to paint the beautiful scenes which appeared to him. "Now I don't have to meditate. I simply know that if I start with a pencil or brush, some higher intelligence will direct my work. Having discovered that, I no longer make an effort to interfere. There is a great force pulling us, and the more it manifests, the more creative we become. Art is an attempt to delve into this mystery, to pick one detail out of the infinitude of infinities and make it clear.

"I don't try to convey an idea or emotion, and I'm not at all interested in art that is supposed to reflect our times. Greek art, which is as excellent today as when it was created, certainly doesn't reflect Greece 2,500 years ago. It simply is beautiful, superior possibly to any sculpture done since."

As if to goad himself to the perfection of his own art, Earle clips and keeps reviews of his contemporaries. "The colossal conceit of many prominent modern artists--such as most of the so-called New York Expressionists--is almost beyond comprehension," he declares. "They are satisfied creatively by daubing huge canvases with sloppy slashes of raw color, empty of design or draftsmanship, void of emotional content. I have chosen at this time to devote my painting efforts towards perfecting to the utmost of my capacity whatever paintings I still possess or new ones I create. I shall strive to make them the sum total of my being."

Until 1966, Earle had worked with casein on Masonite, a very sensitive medium, but then he began exhibiting and switched to acrylics. "I loved the casein," he recalls, "but I gave it up because it's so easy to damage. A fingerprint on it can mar the surface, and there's no way to get it off. Walking through museums, I see many modern works, by painters who are still alive, that are cracking and chipping. Do these artists think it beneath them to consider the preservation of their work?" Earle extends this concern to his own prints and paintings and is "still trying to perfect the preservation side of my work." Once, as a test, he tacked a serigraph to an outside wall and left it there in sun, wind, and rain for two years. Then he removed it to scrutinize the inks for fading or leaching and to test the paper for flexibility. The print was still bright and supple. "It's very important to ensure that a piece won't deteriorate 50 years later," he insists.

Earle had painted entirely in oils since 1972, when he ran out of the fast-drying, brilliant black he preferred for acrylic work. In June 1983, a year and a half after he shifted to full-time work on his serigraphs, he resumed oil painting. Then just a month later, Earle finally found a satisfactory acrylic black, bought a hundred bottles, and set to work in acrylics as well. He has no present plans for an exhibit but continues to produce serigraphs--his "screen paintings"--and it is gratifying to see these enjoy financial and critical success in an age when loveliness has nearly become passe. While other artists strive to impress with anger or social relevance, or to beguile with nostalgia, a public weary of the present and doubtful of the future, Eyvind Earle pursues beauty. This quest predates the Greeks, but Earle's strength of vision and craftsmanship make it compellingly his own.

Above the Sea by Eyvind EarleAlamo Pintado by Eyvind EarleAmerican Barns by Eyvind EarleAmethyst by Eyvind EarleAncient Forest by Eyvind EarleAutumn by Eyvind EarleAutumn Fields by Eyvind EarleAutumn Leaves by Eyvind EarleAutumn Sunset by Eyvind EarleAwakening by Eyvind EarleBarns By The Sea by Eyvind EarleBeauty Beyond Believing by Eyvind EarleBefore the Sun Goes Down by Eyvind EarleBeyond Paradise by Eyvind EarleBeyond the Valley by Eyvind EarleBig Sur Calm by Eyvind EarleBig Sur Coastline by Eyvind EarleBig Sur Coastline by Eyvind EarleBig Sur and Branch by Eyvind EarleBlack Evergreen Forest by Eyvind EarleBlack Oak by Eyvind EarleBlack Spruce by Eyvind EarleBlue Barn and Snow by Eyvind EarleBlue Big Sur by Eyvind EarleBlue Fog by Eyvind EarleBlue Light by Eyvind EarleBlue Mist by Eyvind EarleBlue Pine by Eyvind EarleBonsai by Eyvind EarleBrown Tree by Eyvind EarleCalifornia Coast by Eyvind EarleCalifornia Hills by Eyvind EarleCalifornia Meadows by Eyvind EarleCalifornia Tapestry by Eyvind EarleCarmel Cypress by Eyvind EarleCarmel Gold by Eyvind EarleCarmel Highlands by Eyvind EarleCarmel Valley by Eyvind EarleCattle Country by Eyvind EarleCentral California by Eyvind EarleCentral Park by Eyvind EarleCliffs of Darkness by Eyvind EarleCoastline by Eyvind EarleCrimson Glory by Eyvind EarleDays End by Eyvind EarleDeep Crimson by Eyvind EarleDelphinium by Eyvind EarleDesert Skyscraper by Eyvind EarleDesert Tree by Eyvind EarleEarly Morning Fog by Eyvind EarleEmerald Coast by Eyvind EarleEnchanted Coast by Eyvind EarleEnchanted Forest by Eyvind EarleEucalyptus by Eyvind EarleEucalyptus by Eyvind EarleEucalyptus Forest by Eyvind EarleEventide by Eyvind EarleFactory by Eyvind EarleFigure in Blue Grays by Eyvind EarleFir Tree In Snow by Eyvind EarleFire, Red and Gold by Eyvind EarleFog Draped Hills by Eyvind EarleFog Light by Eyvind EarleFrom Out of the Sea by Eyvind EarleGarden of Dreams by Eyvind EarleGarden of Eden by Eyvind EarleGardner's Ranch by Eyvind EarleGaviota Pass by Eyvind EarleGirl with Raven hair by Eyvind EarleGothic Forest by Eyvind EarleGray Big Sur by Eyvind EarleGray Mist by Eyvind EarleGreen Forest by Eyvind EarleGreen Pastures by Eyvind EarleGreen Valley by Eyvind EarleHaze of Early Spring by Eyvind EarleHiddenValley by Eyvind EarleHigh Country Valley by Eyvind EarleIn A Gothic Garden by Eyvind EarleInland From The Sea by Eyvind EarleJewel Forest by Eyvind EarleJewel Tree by Eyvind EarleLand of the Midnight Sun by Eyvind EarleLittle Big Sur by Eyvind EarleLittle Jewels by Eyvind EarleLoma Amarillo by Eyvind EarleMauve Barn by Eyvind EarleMauve Floral by Eyvind EarleMauve, Red and Purple by Eyvind EarleMedieval Promenade by Eyvind EarleMendocino by Eyvind EarleMidnight Blue by Eyvind EarleMoonbath by Eyvind EarleMoonlit Eucalyptus by Eyvind EarleMorning Mist by Eyvind EarleMother and Child by Eyvind EarleMountain Rise by Eyvind EarleMy Soul by Eyvind EarleMystic Mountain by Eyvind EarleMystical Big Sur by Eyvind Earle

In addition to Eyvind Earle, Doubletake Gallery is a great source for any of the following artists.

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Michel Delacroix  Bio
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Jim Dine  Bio
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Erte  Bio
Roy Fairchild  Bio
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Last Updated 03/03/2002
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