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 Richard Yarde  (1939 - 2012)

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Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: modernist figure, portrait and street scene painting, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Following is an obituary of the artist, written by Kathryn Roy and published online at MASS LIVE-Worcester on January 27, 2012.

"Area artist Richard Yarde to be remembered in memorial service, exhibits"

One of the area’s premier watercolor artists, who gained national acclaim for his work that is in the collections of the country’s major museums, is being remembered for his exploratory creativity with the medium. Richard Yarde of Northampton, professor of fine art at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, died recently after a long illness.

“Richard died of kidney failure on Dec. 10 in Cooley Dickinson Hospital (in Northamtpton.) He had kidney problems for many years, and had undergone a transplant in the late 1990s. The UMass exhibit – “In the Realm of the Senses” – was curated by Richard’s colleague Trevor Richardson, and will be more of a retrospective, while our exhibit – “Saturday Night, Midnight” – will focus on dance and African-American themed pieces. There is a memorial on Jan. 28. at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Amherst,” said Richard Michelson, author, poet and owner of R. Michelson Galleries in Northampton. ??A reception for “In the Realm of the Senses: The Work of Richard Yarde,” will take place on Jan. 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. in Herter Art Gallery in Herter Hall near the Fine Arts Center at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

The exhibit continues through Feb. 23, and the Michelson exhibit, which includes Yarde’s Savoy dancers, continues through Feb. 24 at the gallery at 132 Main St. in Northampton. The church holding the memorial for Yarde is located at 434 North Pleasant St. in Amherst. ??Michelson first became familiar with Yarde’s work after moving to the Pioneer Valley in 1979. ??“I asked a number of visual artists in the area which of their colleagues they thought were doing the best and most interesting work, and a name that appeared on every list was that of Richard Yarde,” Michelson said.

“I didn’t know his work, but when I first saw it, I was amazed at his rich and vibrant use of the watercolor medium, which was generally known for its intimacy.”

Yarde, who lived most of his life in Northampton, was born in Boston in 1939. He received his undergraduate degree in fine arts with honors and his master of fine arts degree from Boston University.

He was said to be known for his explorations of the African-American tradition, and his use of grid patterns, which he attributed to being influenced by his seamstress mother’s quilts.

Michelson worked closely with Yarde throughout the 1990s. Yarde’s work became a mainstay in the gallery, and the reason many people visited Northampton, Michelson said.

Intellectually curious and passionate about everything, Michelson said Yarde eventually turned his artist’s gaze at his own condition, even incorporating images of his X-rays into his paintings.

He said Yarde also had a willingness to help other artists hone their craft, and was known as a superior teacher.

“He trained a generation of younger artists, and I was always amazed at the level of their admiration for the man, as well as for his art,” Michelson said.

Michelson said he believes Yarde will leave a lasting impression on the art world.

“I think Richard is one of the premier artists of his generation, and a true American voice,” he said. “His Savoy dancers and his later, more personal paintings are destined to only grow in stature, as they become more widely known.”

Yarde’s recent solo exhibitions have included “Visionary Anatomies” at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.; “Ringshout,” at the Worcester Art Museum; “Richard Yarde: Recent Works on Paper,” at the Fuller Art Museum in Brockton; “Moho Hand,” at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, later traveling to Smith College in Northampton and Studio Museum in Harlem, and “The Savoy Installation,” at the Studio Museum.

Yarde’s works are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

He won several awards, including the Commonwealth Award for Fine Art in 2002 and an Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1995.

Online Source:
www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/01/area_artist_richard_yarde_to_b.html


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