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 Lawrence Alexander Willette  (1952 - 2005)



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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: abstract expressionist painting, playwright, photography

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Biography from Alpen Gallery:
Born in Manhattan on March 16th 1952, Lawrence Alexander Willette cultivated his prowess as an abstract expressionist and has since mastered several other genres of painting over the years as a professional artist. Before even finishing his years as an undergraduate at S.U.N.Y, he had a stint teaching graduate classes in the BFA program, where he came under the tutelage of two masters painters: Alexander Minewski, a protégé of Matisse, and Joop Sanders, a friend and compatriot of Willem de Kooning. The result being an influence based on the poetry of Matisse's nudes and the compositional complexities of abstract expressionism.

In 1978, after graduating, he concurrently founded The Westbeth Painting Cooperative & Gallery in Manhattan. As the resident playwright he wrote the farce Waiting for the Dough, produced by Westbeth Theatre Center, incorporating his abstract and figurative mural size paintings as the set. Upon visiting his studio at Westbeth, Elaine DeKooning said: "If Bill (de Kooning) was still painting women, he'd be doing what you're doing". Various professional ventures, "odd" jobs and small shows in small towns, led to national exposure with an international print ad campaign for Cointreau Liqueur featuring his art. International shows soon followed in Miami, Chicago, Bryn Mawr, Paris, London, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Luxemburg and Bologna.

During the 1980's, Willette showed at some SoHo galleries in New York, and after meeting Andy Warhol became inspired to produce his own arts magazine: The Metropolitan Muse, which showcases his nude photography and fiction and The Willette Gazzette, which were published quarterly.

Lawrence Alexander Willette died Sunday morning, November 13th 2005 at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City due to complications from cancer. He was 53 years old.

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