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Albanian Bathers

Peter Schoenmann's avatar Peter Schoenmann

I don't know whether these men were unemployed, had been thrown out of their houses by their wives or were just hanging out. They sat in their undies on torn-up cardboard boxes playing chess and drinking odd concoctions out of plastic bottles. Their skin was that leathery kind you get if you sit in the sun for months on end. It was a moment that seemed to capture the place, and set stories running in my mind. I was thinking about a Georges Seurat's Bathers at Asnières and a snap by Henri Cartier-Bresson. I wished I could speak Albanian, so I could settle down and shoot the breeze. But for that 125th of a second, they all gazed out to the boy diving into the mulch and I got my picture. -Tom Craig, Photographer. When I saw Tom's photo, I knew I had to paint it. I am a painting conservator by trade. Our line of work is a blend of different things. We clean and repair very damaged artworks with the most minimal intervention possible. In order to achieve this, we study the works. I have made many such paintings over the years that inform our conservation work. Tom's eye had captured light and composition that rivals great paintings. I thought of Thomas Eakins, immediately, but also Velasques, Inness, Whistler... The scene has amazing light and I was drawn to its study. It also has a universal human quality (At first I thought it was a scene from the midwest). So I contacted Tom and asked him if I could paint it and he said yes. It was created from a preservation point of view (being a conservator I cannot help that). The work is constructed from the finest materials and most proper technique I know. The result is the painting you see before you. -Peter Schoenmann, Painter.

Entry Details
  • Art form: 2-D
  • Depth: 1 inch
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Width: 80 inches
  • Year created: 2015
  • Height: 60 inches