By Rebecca Pikus
Paul Bellardo is an amazing sculptor – ceramics, pottery, glass, and also mono prints – who disliked “retirement” (true artists never really retire) – And at 92 years old continues to be prolific in producing his artworks. He is an artist who possesses a lifetime of artistic experience and talent. Anyone familiar with his work knows that Paul Bellardo has always been on the cutting-edge when it comes to his creative talent. It is not simply the expertise he possesses in creating a finished work, but more importantly, the imagination and detailed design that continually make his work fresh, innovative, and alive. Bellardo is one artist who oftentimes delivers a whimsical side to his pieces yet still manages to keep his art totally grounded, with an earthy quality.
While stationed in the south in 1945 during his Army days, he accidentally stumbled into the Young Men’s Hebrew Association ceramics studio in New Orleans, Louisiana – that experience was truly the beginning of his lifelong passion. Although he was born in Hartford, Connecticut – he went on after the service to graduate from the Boston School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Bellardo received the highest honors after a year of postgraduate work and continued teaching for 10 years at the Museum School — among his many recognitions was a travel scholarship from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation for his ceramic creations.
His first one-man show was in 1965 at the DeCordova Museum of Fine Arts in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It was at the showing that 18 pieces of Bellardo’s work were purchased by Walter P. Chrysler for inclusion in the permanent collection of the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia. The success was quickly followed by exhibitions at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the George Walter Vincent Smith Museum, and the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts.
Bellardo opened his ceramic studio/shop/gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts. His major claim to fame, however, was for a record-breaking 35 years as owner of a landmark gallery of contemporary arts and crafts in New York City’s West Village. Unfortunately, Bellardo Ltd. was closed permanently when he decided it was time to retire. That was indeed a sad day for an entire generation of New Yorkers who knew and loved him and his neighborhood gallery. For him, relaxing in the warm California sun lasted only so long. In short order, he was back at creating his art – the endeavor he loves so passionately and has always has always excelled at. Today his creations are in Private Collections worldwide, as well as in several prestigious Museums. Most recently, several pieces of Bellardo’s work were acquired by the New Orleans Museum of Art as part of their permanent collection. At present, he works out of Silica Studios in Palm Springs, Ca. and his home in Rancho Mirage, California.
Paul Bellardo – “Visually Speaking – Color & Light” – Group Exhibition curated by Joe Novak — through December 31, 2016 at REBECCA FINE ART GALLERY, 68895 Perez Rd., #7, Cathedral City, Ca (760) 534-5888 – Fineartvortex.com and Artsy.net – Gallery open Wed.-Sat. 11am-4pm or By Appointment