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 Larry (Laurence James) Day  (1921 - 1998)

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Lived/Active: Pennsylvania/Maryland      Known for: abstract landscape, figure, still life and genre painting

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Ad Code: 3
Larry Day
from Auction House Records.
Outing: Hommage to Le Nain
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is an obituary of the artist from The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 1998

Larry Day, 76, Phila. Artist And Art Teacher by Andy Wallace, Inquirer Staff Writer
Larry Day, 76, a Philadelphia artist with a unique classical style and an influential teacher of painting and drawing at the University of the Arts, died of cancer Tuesday at Abington Hospital. He lived in Melrose Park.

``He had a profound influence on artistic and intellectual community,'' said Charles More, whose Center City gallery sold Mr. Day's work. ``He was a thinker. He taught, painted, presented papers.''

As a painter, Mr. Day was known for his austere, geometric, often people-less cityscapes, which sometimes drew from classical painters.  More popular with recent buyers were his drawings of friends, neighbors and fellow artists, which often included a self-portrait and a motif from classical art.

In a review of an exhibit in 1986, a critic observed that the paintings were so austere ``they seem more like schemes for paintings that will be fully realized later.'' Earlier, another critic said one of his city scenes ``takes on monumental proportions and radiates a sense of calm and orderliness that is very appealing to those with jangled nerves.''

``He was a very a contemplative draftsman; you looked at his work and see almost a snail's path,'' More said. ``He didn't work in a cloud of charcoal, but in precise and deliberate way.''

At the University of the Arts where he taught from 1953 until 1988, Mr. Day had an impact on the careers of scores of artists.

``He opened up the world of art to me,'' said Sidney Goodman, a former student of Mr. Day. ``The main thing is he made you think. He always questioned the nature of experience as reflected in people's work and in their lives.'' His work, Goodman said, ``had a calmness and classical dignity that was out of step with the craziness'' of contemporary life.

Mr. Day, who spent years in the study of philosophy as well as art, worked in a studio that was jammed from floor to ceiling with books - often several copies of the same work - records, and CDs. Classical or jazz music surrounded him as he worked.

He was a founding member of the Interlocutors, an interdisciplinary discussion group that met at the University of Pennsylvania Faculty Club for more than 25 years.

Mr. Day was born in Philadelphia and lived in or close to the city all his life, except for 13 years he spent in Takoma Park, Md., in the 1980s and early 1990s.

During World War II, he spent more than three years in the Army, serving in the Pacific.  As a boy, he exhibited both writing and artistic talent, but had his heart set on being a poet.  After the war, he enrolled at Temple's Tyler School of Art, but only decided to concentrate on art instead of poetry after seeing a Matisse exhibition at the Philadelphia Art Museum.

He spent a year in Paris in the early 1950s, and then, under the influence of contemporary artists such as William de Kooning, became an abstract painter.  That stage ended in 1960. His personality did not fit well with the spontaneity required in abstract art, he said once in an interview. ``I realized that when you constantly brood over things, a perceptual art - one that deals with things and one's response to them - was right for me.''

Internet: The Philadelphia Inquirer:

Biography from Dixon-Hall Fine Art:
Born in Philadelphia, Larry Day became an influential artist and teacher.  He taught at the University of the Arts from 1953-85 and at the University of Pennsylvania from 1985-90.

His work is included in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.

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