My portrait of actress Angela Lansbury has just beenunveiled into The Players' Club of New York Hall of Fame permanent art collection organized by the prestigious club's Art Committee Chair, portraitist extraordinaire Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A. (see adjacent pic)
WHAT A NIGHT IT WAS! ... And yes, that is a Sargent painting above my head in one of the photos below which I find rather amusing! This club has one helluva collection which I am proud to be part of. Not that I am close to a Sargent or anything!
Previous portraits of mine in the collection include Norman Rockwell and My Fair Lady's Rex Harrison, also a thrill to paint. A total of 22 prominent portrait artists from around the country were unveiled in this 'go-around' for the Hall of Fame collection.
They include Dawn Whitelaw, Michael Shane Neal, Holly Metzger, Ed Jonas, Gordon Wetmore, Wende Caporeale, Tom Donohue, Burt Silverman, Lynda Kyser Smith, Loryn Brazier, Dot Svenson, David Beynon Pena, Basil Baylin, Irene Hecht, Kyle Keith, Ian Factor, Joel Spector, Betsy Ashton, Joe Rubinstein and of course the incomparable Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A.
I have to say, Mr. Kinstler's portrait of Christopher Plummer for the collection reminded me why I first fell in love with this great man's work. It is EVERYTHING a portrait should be and it took my breath away. Reminded me how much work I have to do.
And once again, Mr. Kinstler's 'better half', as we say in England, the ever-so elegant and witty Mrs. Peggy Kinstler had donated her considerable time to produce a lovely color keepsake program of the evening which went quickly on my studio wall. I smile when I look at it.
The Players Club was founded in 1888 by the famed actor Edwin Booth, also painted by Sargent, sadly no longer in the art collection, who envisioned a club which would bring actors into contact with men of other professions such as academics, artists, and others in the world of business. Women were admitted as members in 1988.
The club's walls ooze with history as well as the GREAT paintings. There is the Lucille Ball Loo(aka restroom) for starters but we won't go there! You can almost hear the clink-chink of ghost dry martinis from the past, guzzled down by Broadway's greats along with a waft of smoke-filled rooms as actors of old drag on the requisite cigarette before it was not cool to do that. I can only imagine the intrigue, drama, talent, fun, diamante jewelry and lacquered hair 'up-does' that these legendary club walls have been host to.
The club's executive director Mr. John Martello once again co-ordinated with Mr. Kinstler to arrange the commissions from artists all over the country, and put on a fabulous inductee evening filled with wine, dinner and divine song, with performances by Anna Bergman and Sarah Partridge, much to the crowd's enjoyment, many of whom had flown somewhat exhausted from a busy weekend at The Portrait Society of America annual conference in D.C. including Mr. Kinstler and Mr. Gordon Wetmore (chairman of The PSA).
The energy in the room lifted every ones' spirits. Among the greats taking the stage this night were also Christopher Plummer, see pic, theatre legend Marian Seldes, and Pam Singleton. Angela Lansbury is currently appearing in the Broadway smash, Blythe Spirit, and had two shows that day.
I return to my studio today inspired by it all...to be in the company of such greats of the theatre and painting arts. The club just hosted another spectacular night in its long history and I am thrilled to bits that a bit of 'me' is on its walls. I may even run out and get an up-do. NO martini though.