My Buddy Montoyo (Portrait of Luis Ortiz)
THE COLLECTION OF MARY AND ROY CULLEN
H. C. WESTERMANN (1922-1981)
My Buddy Montoyo (Portrait of Luis Ortiz)
signed and dated 'H. C. Westermann '54' (lower right)
oil on canvas
29 ¼ x 19 ½ in. (74.3 x 49.5 cm.)
Painted in 1954.
Robert Henry Adams Fine Art, Chicago
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2004
Chicago, Robert Henry Adams Fine Art, Westermann, August-October 2004.
Honolulu, The Contemporary Museum; Montclair, Montclair Art Museum; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Stanford, Cantor Arts Center, Dreaming of a Speech Without Words: The Paintings and Early Objects of H.C. Westermann, July 2006-March 2008.
This lot is sold and shipped framed.
Please note this lot is the property of a private collector.
Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
The condition of lots can vary widely and the nature of the lots sold means that they are unlikely to be in a perfect condition. Lots are sold in the condition they are in at the time of sale.
There is stable hairline cracking visible intermittently throughout the surface of the canvas. Pinpoint losses are visible to the red portion of the flag. There is inpainting visible under ultraviolet light, primarily in the white areas above the head, at the forehead and to the lower right of the figure. Areas of white are slightly discolored in association with the inpainting. This work has not been examined out of its frame.
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My Buddy Montoyo is a quirky and endearing portrait of H. C. Westermann’s friend and fellow ex-Marine, Luis Ortiz. Like Westermann, Ortiz shared an interest in acrobatics and art, and the two became friends during their deployment in World War II. In addition to this painting, Ortiz is also the subject of a later, sculptural portrait by Westermann.
After joining the Marine Corp at the age of 20, in 1942, Westermann served for three years as an anti-aircraft gunner on the U.S.S. Enterprise, seeing intense combat and enduring numerous Japanese kamikaze attacks while in the Pacific theatre. After the war, deferred for a year from entering the Art School at the Art Institute of Chicago, Westermann formed a two-man balancing act with Wayne Uttley, calling themselves “Wayne and Westermann.” Together, they performed in the U.S.O.’s post-war tour of Japan and China. Westermann returned to Chicago in the fall of 1947 and entered the Art Institute of Chicago, where he became a part of the small but slowly growing art scene. While drawing and painting occupied Westermann’s interested in the early fifties, his interest gradually drifted toward sculpture, and by 1954, he stopped painting completely for a period of years. This painting, My Buddy Montoyo, falls in the end of the artist’s early painting career and exhibits “the kind of expressive freedom that prevented specific classifications of his work [and] inspired succeeding generations of artists. His influence was particularly prevalent among third generation Chicago painters such as Ed Nutt, Ed Paschke and Karl Wirsum.” (Barbara Haskell, H. C. Westermann, exh. cat., Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1978, p. 25.)
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