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November 17, 2009

Satisfying Painting at Pebble Beach

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

A little while ago I wrote about what I called "satisfying paintings" -- works that were nicely done and that are a pleasure to view.

And a few years ago I wrote about Pebble Beach and posted the following photo of the lounge at The Lodge at Pebble Beach (which overlooks the famous 18th hole).

Lounge, The Lodge at Pebble Beach

Note the painting on the back wall. It's one of several in the Lodge. The artist is Jerry Van Megert (b. 1938). I haven't found much about him other than he was originally from Oregon and does portraits as well as California coastal scenes such as those on display at Pebble Beach.

Here is a slightly cropped photo of the painting noted above.


The original is quite large, but my photo for once conveys a pretty good sense of it.

I'd like to show more works by Van Megert, but information about him on the Web is sparse indeed, if my Google and Bing searches are any guide.



posted by Donald at November 17, 2009


Marvelous landscape, somewhat like the great work of Russell Chatham, of which I own two.

Posted by: Richard S. Wheeler on November 17, 2009 12:14 PM

Interesting, but this painting doesn't quite work for me as it seems to for you. I can appreciate the shadows and the large scale detail-- the lines and scalloped surfaces on the right hand mass, the broken craginess of the central bodies. I wouldn't kick this painting out of bed in the morning for eating crackers -- surely the dominant consideration in anyone's recognition of beauty!

That said, looking deliberately for something to criticize, the work seems vague. The colors are subdued. It's missing details that add specificity and scale -- a shallow depression lined with moss in the foreground, for example, would do much to suggest we actually stood here and surveyed this scene. A human climber on the central bodies would allow us to judge whether those crags are hundreds of feet high, or merely inches. (I don't demand humans; a climbers axe or a quarter of a knapsack at the edge of the painting would work as well.) But there's actually LESS detail in the foreground than in the middle of the painting, which doesn't jibe with our actual perception of nature.

As a result the painting seems "ethereal" in some fashion. Idealized. Impressionistic. It shows imagination, or perhaps memory, rather than the scene as it might actually exist. It catches our attention, but does't hold it for long. It might make a good dust jacket for a moody novel.

Of course, I Am NOT An Artist. I'm criticisizing this work for not being photo-realistic, and that may show I'm missing its entire point, and probably neglecting the real strengths of the artist's technique. I'm willing to be informed -- what do you see to appreciate here that I have missed?

Posted by: mike shupp on November 20, 2009 10:43 PM

Not to come off as a "You Say & I Say" sort of shit here. I actually wasn't trying to disagree with your response to the work. The point is I ENJOY reading discussions of what makes particular pieces of art "work", and was hoping to learn from your response. My apologies for not making this clear in the original comment.

Posted by: mike shupp on November 22, 2009 3:33 PM

Bla bla bla. For more Van Megert, check out

Bla bla.


Posted by: rico on November 24, 2009 12:37 AM


Book: Pebble Beachscapes

by Megert, Van

Binding: Hardcover Publisher: Limited Editions Press. 1999 ISBN-13: 9781930210004 ISBN: 1930210000

erp out.

Posted by: rico on November 24, 2009 12:42 AM

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