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 David Brega  (1948 - )

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts/California      Known for: trompe l'oeil still life and portrait painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born on Christmas Day, 1948 in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, David Brega became an artist of trompe l'oeil still life painting. He is the twin brother of Douglas Brega, also an artist.

The twins attended the Paier School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut where they studied with Ken Davies, an accomplished trompe l'oeil artist and Dean of the school. Davies, who emphasized the importance of sound drawing combined with creativity, has remained the most influential artist for both of the Bregas.

In 1973, David attended the San Francisco Art Institute for a year and in 1974, the Los Angeles Trade Technical College. He also worked in the advertising field including the painting of a commission of an eighty-foot mural of Frank Sinatra at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. After that, he settled his studio in Marshfield, Massachusetts, from where he has devoted himself to trompe l'oeil still life painting.

In 1986 he had a solo exhibition at Alexander Gallery in New York. In 2000 the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts held a twenty-five year retrospective exhibition of his work along with his brother Douglas' watercolors. In 2003 Brega's work was featured in "Doubletake" an exhibition of trompe l'oeil works at the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

Source: Vose Galleries of Boston, Inc., October 2003

Biography from Conservation Design Inc:
David Brega was born on Christmas Day 1948 five minutes after his identical twin brother Douglas. Together with their older brother Stephen, and younger sister Kathy, they grew up in the neighboring town of East Longmeadow.

The twins attended the Paier School of Art in Hamden, Connecticut from 1969 to 1973.  It was at Paier where Brega met the pivotal figure in his career, Ken Davies; noted trompe l’oeil and still life painter.  Under the tutelage of Davies, Brega honed his skills as a technician and draftsman and most importantly found his niche as a painter.  Throughout his career Ken has remained a mentor and steadfast friend. In a 1986 interview with Anita Shreve for Connoisseur Magazine Ken Davies named David Brega as his most successful student.

Following his years at Paier and further studies at the San Francisco Art Institute and Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Brega began a seven-year stint as a pictorial artist painting larger than life portraits of recording artists and film stars on billboards in California and Nevada.  Highlighting his career as a pictorial artist were two commissioned murals for Caesars Palace, each 80 feet high by 45 feet wide of Frank Sinatra commemorating the singer’s 64th birthday and 40th year in show business.

He returned to his New England roots in 1980, settling on the South Shore of Boston in Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts. He has won numerous awards and plaudits since then including his first honorary degree, a doctorate of humane letters, from Bay Path College in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.  His still life and trompe l’oeil paintings have appeared on nine Yankee Magazine covers including that of the fiftieth anniversary commemorative book The Best of Yankee Magazine.

In 1986 David received his first real break, a solo show on Madison Avenue in New York City at Alexander Gallery.  This exhibition “David Brega, Trompe l’oeil: The Provocative Language of Illusion” sold out within minutes of its opening catapulting David into major private and corporate collections including that of Richard Manoogian, considered one of the world’s preeminent collectors of American Art

Another show followed at the gallery in 1991, “Please Do Not Touch” and featured David’s most ambitious work to date, “Homage,” a 74 x 48 inch trompe l’oeil paying tribute to the Hudson River School’s most prestigious artists. The painting quickly found a place in the permanent collection of the MASCO corporation and was featured in the Knoxville Museum of Arts 1996 exhibition, “American Grandeur: Masterpieces from the MASCO and Manoogian Collection. David was the only living artist represented in that show.

In 2000 the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, Massachusetts hosted a 25-year retrospective of David’s oil paintings and Douglas’s watercolors titled, “Oil and Water.” It was the first venue to showcase David’s masterpiece, “Colors,” a 67x50 inch trompe l’oeil of Aerosmith drummer, Joey Kramer’s stunning motorcycle jacket.  Sold to Missouri collector, Crosby Kemper in the opening minutes of the show, “Colors” is now a permanent part of the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri.  After three months at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, “Oil and Water” traveled to the Albrecht-Kemper Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri where it remained on display for an additional three months.

Since then David’s works have been exhibited at the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut; the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts' and at the Vose Galleries of Boston during his solo show “Eyeful” in the fall of 2003.  A dual show of David and Douglas’s work is slated for an August 2006 opening on Nantucket Island at the Robert Wilson Galleries.

David Brega continues to work both at his studio in North Marshfield and his studio of nearly twenty-five years in Marshfield Hills, Massachusetts. He’s married to artist Victoria Chesley Brega and has two children, Kate and Jess from his first wife Lynn.

Biography from Quidley & Company:
David Brega is a contemporary painter of still life. Throughout his nearly thirty-five year career, he has carved out a specialty in trompe l’oeil – a branch of still life painting, which mimics reality so closely that the viewer is fooled into thinking the objects are real and not just a painting.

As a trompe l'oeil painter, Brega seeks out objects whose forms and historical associations touch him, and then he arranges them in spare, carefully wrought compositions.

David Brega was born on Christmas day with his twin brother Douglas and raised in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts.  He attended the Paier School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut and both the San Francisco Art Institute and the Los Angeles Trade Technical College in California.

In 1986 he had his first solo exhibition, which was at Alexander Gallery on Madison Avenue in New York and a second followed in 1991. In 2000 the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts mounted a twenty-five year retrospective exhibition of David’s work, together with the watercolors of his brother Douglas.  The retrospective, aptly titled Oil and Water, traveled to the Albrecht-Kemper Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri in 2001.  David’s solo show, Eyeful, opened at Vose Galleries of Boston in 2003, and more recently his work has been featured in exhibitions at the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut, and the Art Complex Museum in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

David Brega's work is in the permanent collections at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Albrecht-Kemper Museum in St Joseph, Missouri.  Private collections include the MASCO Corporation, the Manoogian Collection and the Crosby and Bebe Kemper Collection.

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