NADINE DASKALOFFArtist Profile
If you care to examine the matter closely, nothing in a portrait is a matter of indifference. Gesture, grimace, clothing, decor even—all must serve to realize a character.
— Charles Baudelaire, ‘Salon of 1859″
Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, and many others led the way with their freedom of expression. — Nadine
Born in Marseille, Nadine Daskaloff considers France her homeland, though her mother’s second marriage to a Mexican diplomat took her as a young girl from country to country, including Sweden, Canada, Cuba, and Mexico, navigating diverse cultures, peoples, and languages that all left an imprint. She describes, “I traveled intensely during my formative years and, by age 14, I spoke four languages. I have always felt that painting was my fifth.”.
Such a life of varied experience certainly contributed to the imaginative, expressive, sensitive, and intimate portrayals of the human figure that would become one of her artistic threads.
Nadine initiated formal art studies in France, however her artistic beginnings were solidified and recognized in Mexico in the 60s, where she immersed herself in the art and architecture of the moment and with noted representatives of the abstract movement like Tamayo, Cuevas,and Toledo. It was in Mexico City that she had her first solo exhibition at La PlAstica Mexicana at age 22, presenting earthy, visceral paintings that, in part, fit the time and place as well as represented her personal artistic vision. She would go on to have solo shows at significant galleries in Mexico City, culminating in a 1975 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in that capital.
The portraits, a discrete series begun in the early 90s, are a unique combination of elegance and whimsy, of sultriness and vitality. She paints the faces of family and friends, but many of her portraits derive from pure imagination, or a fantasy composite of persons she has seen or met. Women are the focus in the series of single-figure portrayals, as the artist dwells on and revels in details of hairstyle, clothing, and accessories. Even a cursory look at Nadine Daskaloff’s other artistic directions, namely abstract, geometric paintings, drawings, and collages—at times explosive, others restrained, always bold—determines the strength of her compositions: decisive line, defined form, and intense color. Similarly, she constructs the face with simple planes and shapes of vibrant, complementary hues. Hers is not an act of mere faithful representation or portraying likeness. As she states, “My portraits go beyond resemblance. I want to express the mood and atmosphere of my subject with fantasy, freedom, and in the use of color.”
Cast Hampton, New York September 2014
Invited to participate in the 1967 Biennale des Jeunes in Paris, Nadine met Bulgarian artist Gyorgy Daskaloff. He would become her husband and together they moved to New York in 1969, where she established a studio on Great Jones Street and, in 1973, welcomed the birth of a son, Alexander. In New York Nadine had a solo show at Lerner Heller Gallery in 1970 and would continue to exhibit there and in other venues, including the Bronx Museum, through the 70s and 80s. During this time she had solo and group exhibitions in Paris at the Zunini Gallery and was invited to print her first lithographs with the prestigious UM Graphics in Denmark. She also learned silkscreen, printing her own work and publishing graphic editions with Lublin Graphics, Brooke Alexander, and Feigen Graphics in New York, De Laace Editions in France, and Olivetti Editions in Mexico, among others. Beginning in 1979, the Daskaloffs shared their time between New York City and East Hampton.
Nadine continues to work from the studio in East Hampton, spending time in Miami where she had a retrospective of her work at D. Gallery in 2011.