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 Paul Peter Forster  (1925 - 2012)

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Lived/Active: New Mexico/Utah / Tonga      Known for: southwest landscape and pueblo figure painting, church murals

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Ad Code: 4
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from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following text by Larry Miller and by Paul Forster is from the website of the artist, and is submitted by Sheena Marie, grand daughter of the artist.

"About Paul Forster" by Larry Miller

Breadth of style, tranquility of mood and a balanced sense of color, are hallmarks of Paul Forster's paintings.

Born Paul Peter Forster in Buffalo, New York into a strong Catholic family in 1925, he was, at the age of eight, the youngest member of the Albright Art Gallery Association. That same year, 1933, he began studying at the Museum School with the watercolorist Robert Blair.

Mr. Forster feels a work of art should speak for itself and says the intent of his work is to present an idea, a circumstance or an aspect of man in his environment. He says his role as an artist is to portray feelings, through his works, that inspire others.

After spending time in the Army Air Corps during WWll, he attended Brigham Young University and graduated with a Fine Arts Degree in 1952. He met his wife Peggy while at BYU, and during the early fifties they spent time on her family's farm where he painted and did odd jobs before their move to Ontario, California where Paul painted and taught art.

The late fifties took them to Henderson, NV where Paul opened a small studio at The Last Frontier, a section of town designed to look like the Old West. During that time frame, Paul painted many murals for the Mormon Church, including one in Hawaii that took two years to complete.

From 1960 to 1963, Paul taught art, painted and was the chairman of the art department of the L.D.S. schools of the South Pacific in Tonga. After returning to the US in 1963, the next six years were spent teaching art and serving on the faculty board at Brigham Young University. He left BYU in 1969 to paint full-time and teach part time, including a rehabilitation program taught through the Veterans Administration.

Part of the 70's were spent living in an Airstream trailer and traveling extensively in the Four Corners Area of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. Later, they moved to Santa Fe, where Paul sold paintings through Fenn Studios, then to Draper, Utah and then to Columbus, New Mexico. Peggy passed on in 1988, and after her death, Paul sold their house and moved to Oregon for a period of time, then to Kansas City and returned to Columbus, New Mexico in 2004.

Paul has come back to the desert southwest where his heart is. The peace, serenity, culture and the quality of light, that only the desert can provide, have reawakened his creative spirit. More...He enjoys and paints quiet moods and remote scenes. People, at one with their environment, are the focal point of Paul Forster's work.

His paintings include Acoma Maiden In The Sky City, Kachina Maker At His Craft, churches, pueblos and earth forms of New Mexico and other areas in the Southwest, plus his personal collection includes paintings done in Tonga, New Zealand and England.

Over the years, he has painted for many galleries including the Fenn Gallery in Santa Fe , NM, The Biltmore Galleries in Los Angeles, CA and The Trivoli Galleries in Salt Lake City, UT. He has paintings in collections at The Valley National Bank, Phoenix, AZ, the Springville Museum of Art, Springville, UT and in collections by Jane Fonda and Burt Reynolds. His works have been shown in New York, Utah, California, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico, New Zealand and Tonga.

"Pauls Aesthetics" by Peter Forster, son of the artist

All great artists achieve their own style of painting. Style is what individuates Paul Forster. "Transcendence", going beyond all boundaries, best describes his work.

His paintings are more like meditations, quiet solitudes, which quiet the inner dialog into timeless awareness. Painted from direct experience from the locations he has lived, be it the Tongan Islands, Mexico or the Southwest.

Much the same way that Oriental art of the Tao makes a distinction between the natural and the artificial; his paintings are moving towards the direction of Japanese Aesthetics. If you pay attention to the line and brush stroke, you will be pleasantly surprised by the Sumi style of brush work, and line quality that you find in Antique Oriental painting. His people are endowed with a peaceful quietness. Ask yourself could these be the inner Buddha's that is inherent in all human beings.

There is a sophisticated primitivism that he has incorporated into his paintings since the mid 1950's called "Shibui". His paintings have "Sabi", which is a solitary type of loneliness. The viewer becomes the Solitary wanderer off on their own.  "Wabi means that even in straitened circumstances no thought of hardship arises. Even amid insufficiency, one is moved by no feeling of want. Even when faced with failure, one does not brood over injustice.

One of my personal favorite "Wabi" paintings is the young man in the cardboard box; Painting is titled Madonna of the Doorway. This painting is where eastern and western philosophy meets. Western because of the allegorical composition teaching us a moral lesson of life; moreover, it is a self portrait of modern man. Eastern because it is Shibui, and is Wabi in style of painting.

The Nuclear Superpowers were using Polynesia as a testing ground in the late 1950's and early 1960's, painted in the Tongan Islands during this time.


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