June 1st, 2024


Painting of Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady from 1933 to 1945, by Douglas Chandor (1897-1953). Painted in 1949 when she was 65 and four years after her departure as a widow from the White House. The finished portrait is considered the best ever painted of Mrs. Roosevelt and is one of the stars of the White House collection

by Eileen Treasure, Manager

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Beautiful young people are accidents of nature but beautiful old people are works of art.” I read this quote on a jumbo screen at the One Utah Summit, presented by the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, where my brother-in-law, Greg Critchfield, MD, received the Governor’s Award for Individual Achievement in Science and Technology. He is 72 and going strong in the field of medical innovation having made significant contributions to the health of women, newborns, and underserved populations — groups without a strong voice but with the greatest need for material improvements in healthcare. He said, “Scientists dream of having their ideas find practical impact in the real world.”

It made me think of the older artists in our gallery who are going strong, and dream of having their work bring joy into collector’s lives.

It’s never too late to create.


Hunt Slonem

Hunt Slonem, a rare old bird, in his studio in New York

Hunt Slonem is 72 and one of our most prolific and successful artists. He maintains a daily routine that would put most artists to shame. His new studio in New York is in Hell’s Kitchen area. After a long day of painting, mostly in solitude, he will walk to St. Patrick’s for mass and then home. He finds great pleasure in walking to work. His wealth goes into buying and restoring old mansions left to the fate of the wrecking ball — forgotten and old, but beautiful things are precious to Hunt.

Michael Kessler at his exhibition

Michael Kessler is another one of our most active and prolific artists. As he approaches 70, he continues to bring a high energy level to each new project. Always inventing and exploring, Michael enjoys “what comes next.” His work reflects nature in its random form with architectural elements to add structure. When asked if he was going to retire, Michael said, “I don’t have time to retire.”

In her artist smock, Mary Scrimgeour stands before one of her paintings

Mary Scrimgeour is another Gallery MAR artist enjoying great success in her 70s. Her recent series of monks skiing, skating, and kayaking has been a delightful addition to the gallery. This work is inspired by the monastery of St. Bernards in Switzerland who assisted travelers over the mountain pass. Her travels have always inspired her work. “My intention in life is to travel for inspiration, be a minimalist in my approach to living and create art that enhances and heals people’s lives from wherever I am in the world. The idea of a monk has perhaps influenced my ongoing quest for a simple, and somewhat nomadic, artistic life.”

Siri Hollander considers horses as part of her family

Going strong in her 60s, Siri Hollander’s horse sculpture speaks volumes of a rich life which began in a small town in southern Spain riding Andalusian horses. Hollander and her siblings were homeschooled. Their parents would teach them some traditional coursework but always with an emphasis on history, especially local history. They would take trips together to visit local Roman ruins. Local shepherds would share stories about the history of the village and take the family around on occasion, picking up rare coins and various viejos, or “old things,” along the way. She is largely self-taught and allows her emotions to direct her art. “I’ve spent many years being around horses constantly. At this point, they are more like my family than anything else.”

Wayne Salge became a sculptor at 58 after 30 years in related art fields

Wayne Salge is our bronze sculptor of animal and human forms. One would never guess he is 83! Sculpture is physically demanding, and at 58, Wayne became a full time sculptor. “My first professional career of 30 years involved graphic design and focused on illustrations, logos and marketing art of all genres.  My fine art career is now 25 years and counting. I relish the freedom to focus full time on my sculpture.”

Artist Laura Wait in her studio

Laura Wait visited the gallery last summer on the way to her 50th high school reunion, and I was surprised at her milestone event because her paintings are so young and lively. “My art is influenced by my history. I was a bookbinder and then a book artist for about thirty years, printmaking, and painting at the same time. My techniques are inspired by my experience.” She remembers how “it was always in the back of mind that I would eventually be a painter, but bookbinding took over for many years. I had been making artist books with paintings in them and each book had about 40 paintings each, and finally I thought, ‘Why don’t I just put the paintings on the wall?’

Visitors are always surprised to hear the ‘general’ age of our older artists. Many artists in history created some of their best work in their seventies and eighties.

Grandma Moses started her painting career in her 70s when arthritis prevented her from doing needlework.

Claude Monet’s color palette changed dramatically after cataract surgery at the age of 83. He saw nature’s colors more accurately and began painting with a more intense palette. He continued painting until his death three years later. His beautiful Water Lilies were created in his seventies and eighties.

Henri Matisse underwent surgery for cancer at 70 which left him bedridden most of the time. His paper cutout designs became his primary medium with the help of assistants and were some of his most famous works. He called this time “une seconde vie,” a second life. For me as a young teenager, seeing the Matisse Paper-Cutout Exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts in the 70’s opened up a world of beautiful, incredible shapes, bold colors and patterns. I knew I had to be a part of this art world.

Whether science, art, music or writing, creating is a beautiful thing, and best kept as an active part of our lives. Matisse said, “Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while working.”

It’s never too late to create.