Artist Paul Gervais never painted portraits before 2020, but you wouldn’t know it from the clear command the septuagenarian painter displays across “Faces and Forms,” his current solo exhibition at Boca Raton Museum of Art.
Picked up as neither a lark nor a quarantine project, Gervais began the practice of painting the visages of friends and family after a transformative deep dive into the work of Lucian Freud, one of the art world’s preeminent portraitists.
“I was reading the newly published Life of Lucian Freud,” recalls Gervais. “It’s a wonderful book—two volumes, 600 pages each. And what impressed me is that his body of work is his autobiography, because he painted the people in his life, the women he married, his children, his famous artist friends, neighbors down the road. So I was thinking about that, and went downstairs one morning. Gil [Gervais’ husband and partner of 46 years] was there, and I took a picture of him and went to my studio, and I painted the first one of the series.”
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