Often referred to as an "American Renoir" Patrick
Antonelle can more precisely be dubbed the "New York Renoir"
for his oeuvre is largely comprised of Manhattan street scenes
and depictions of Central Park, all executed in a free-and-easy
painterly style reminiscent of the French master and his contemporaries.
However, the artist admits, it took time to perfect what he terms
"the magic of my Impressionist-pointillist technique,"
by which he "can even create a 'feeling' of the atmosphere."
Early on "my style of painting was realistic and tight.
In fact," he relates, "it was a form of photo-realism,"
and therefore "devoid of heart, soul, and a more personal
interpretation." Happily, though, "Impressionism has
since become my way of expressing myself"; the public's
reaction is that the works elicit "a positive, relaxed,
calm feeling"; and "I'm now represented by more galleries
than I could ever have imagined," Antonelle beams. With
every thing going so well, does the painter anticipate making
any changes? Perhaps one. "I certainly would like to expand
my subject matter. "
Noted corporate and private collectors of Antonelle's paintings
have included Apple Computer; Bergdorf Goodman, Citicorp, Delta
Air Lines, Panasonic, and Patek Philippe, as well as Shirley
Bassey, the late Leonard Bernstein, Michael Feinstein, Celeste
Holm, Liza Minnelli, Regis Philbin, the Swedish royal family,
and Ivana Trump. The artist is represented by Animazing Gallery
(New York); Hudson River Gallery (Piermont, New York); Chrysallis
Gallery (Southampton, New York); Gallerie Je Reviens (Westport,
Connecticut); Kerygma Gallery (Ridgewood, New Jersey); and Artful
Deposit (Bordentown, New Jersey). His own gallery, Patrick's
Fine Art, will soon reopen in New York.
Who - and what - are the inspirations for your paintings?
The artists who have influenced my work the most are Monet,
Renoir, and Pissarro - in other words, the French Impressionists.
Also inspiring me is the essence of nature in all the seasons.
Through the magic of my Impressionist-pointillist technique,
I can even create a "feeling" of the atmosphere. And,
of course, I find inspiration in nostalgic, period photographs
of New York City, which I find at the Museum of the City of New
York and the New York Historical Society. The combination of
these three inspirations allows me to take a city scene, turn
back the clock a century, add nature in whatever season it happens
to be and in my own Impressionist way, and create an original
work of art.
How has your artistic style developed over time, and do
you foresee it changing in the future?
In the very beginning of my career, my style of painting was
realistic and tight. In fact, it was a form of photo-realism.
Although sales were good, I soon felt that there wasn't much
feeling or emotion in the paintings; they were devoid of heart,
soul, and a more personal interpretation. Impressionism has since
become my way of expressing myself and nature. Things do not
have to appear perfect.
No, I do not foresee any changes in my style in the near or distant
future. However, I certainly would like to expand my subject
matter, as most of what I've painted in the past has been the
immediate locale. Having had the opportunity to travel in recent
years to Arizona and Europe, I'm very excited about interpreting
what are, for me, unfamiliar scenes.
Your education was actually in commercial art. Why did
you switch over to fine art?
While studying commercial art at the School of Visual Arts
in New York City, the time came for me to take some fine-art
classes. For me, it was love at first stroke! I immediately realized
what I was born to do. I remember how painting made me feel,
and when I saw the reaction to my paintings, that gave me even
more of a reason to abandon commercial art and pursue this, my
What was that reaction to your paintings?
Because I had my own art galleries in New York City, I was
afforded the privilege and pleasure of hearing firsthand the
positive responses of the public to my paintings. Artists who
are only represented by galleries are denied this. People's comments
were varied, but the common denominator was that the paintings
evoked a positive, relaxed, calm feeling. In fact, many people
said that they felt their stress level reduced. As an artist,
this brings me great joy.
Who is your primary audience?
My audience is vast and varied. Due to the fact that my galleries
were located in both the Wall Street/South Street Seaport and
57th Street/Central Park areas of Manhattan - I have since closed
them - my paintings were exposed to tourists, celebrities, residents,
and office workers. Also, because I produce my own collection
of signed and numbered limited edition prints, many people from
various economic levels can afford to purchase an image they
How has the business side of the art world changed over
the last 20 years? And have the changes affected you personally?
Especially during the mid-'80s, fantastic prices were being
paid for fine art. In the early '90s this changed drastically,
and artists and galleries felt the brunt of the recession, which
led to numerous business closings. The recession led to the demise
of my own two galleries, which was overwhelming for me.
Having experienced the struggle of keeping my galleries alive
in a recession economy but ultimately having to close them, I
eventually was spurred on to market myself in a full-throttle
mode. After all, I had no choice, having a family to support.
However, this negative was turned into a positive, as I'm now
represented by more galleries than I could ever have imagined.
As they say, "That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger."
Why is it important to incorporate art in a corporate setting?
From my own experience, employees have commented that art
induces a calm feeling, and employers have shared their sentiments
- adding that the calm feeling increases productivity. Art also
brings a sense of "home" to the staid office environment.
In addition, in many instances having my paintings in corporate
settings has resulted in sales to individuals for their homes.
Have you considered loans of your artwork to companies?
I've been hearing much about this lately - it seems to be
quite popular - so I will certainly consider it. Of course, the
concept of loans instead of outright purchases affords the artist
more exposure: Works can then be seen in the offices of companies
with low budgets to buy art. And to an artist, any exposure is
What role do you see traditional artwork playing in today's
I truly feel that this fast-paced, high-tech world in which
we live is beckoning for the qualities that traditional art has
to offer. The world may change, but people remain basically the
same, and I think that's why everyone has become so wired and
stressed, as they try to keep up and cope. And that's why Thomas
Kinkade has become so popular and successful. He has taken his
very traditional cottages and landscapes and marketed them into
a mega-industry. He's an inspiration to a traditional artist
like myself, when I look at the vast audience for, and the positive
response to, his genre. Traditional all is akin to classical
music: It will go on forever.
You're involved with several charitable organizations.
What do you do specifically?
I strongly believe that the talent I have is a God-given gift,
and that I have an obligation to channel it to benefit the needy.
Therefore, for many years I've donated paintings on a regular
basis to fund-raising events. Most of my contributions have been
to support children-related organizations, including Tomorrow's
Children's Cancer Hospital in Hackensack, New Jersey, the Northern
Lights Pediatric AIDS Foundation in New York, the Sunrise Children's
Hospital in Las Vegas, UNICEF Worldwide, and many more. It's
an honor to be able to give something back from what we're given.
After all, we pass this way but once.