Jack Stuppin: The Beginning of My World
“When I was a child, the Palisades and the Hudson River were the edge of the world for me. The fall colors were a constant joy and painting them continues that joy. When I start a painting, I have no idea what it will look like when finished. The process is like taking an intellectual and emotional journey with one discovery after another.” —Jack Stuppin
Jack Stuppin (American, b. 1933), renowned for vibrant landscape paintings of Northern California, grew up in Yonkers and returns again and again to reconnect with the formative Hudson Valley scenery of his youth. This exhibition highlights nine oil paintings, ranging from 2008 to 2020, from an ongoing series the artist has called his “homage to the Hudson River School.” In works like Kaaterskill Falls, 2009, and Olana Trail, 2020, he celebrates his New York roots with the scenic, mountainous terrain first made famous by Hudson River School painters Thomas Cole and Frederic Church.
Stuppin begins these paintings with outdoor oil studies and chooses his favorites to enlarge in the studio. In these more finished works, the artist moves beyond a purely realistic interpretation and creates a world filled primarily with intensified hues of his own vision and sense of design. His intentionally simplified forms emphasize the solidity of the landscape, imparting the same unity of surface to topography, water, and sky. These paintings—filled with bright, super-enriched colors—fuse a certain folk-art primitiveness with deeply personal emotion.
After graduating from Columbia College in 1955, Stuppin studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute in the 1960s and has had a long artistic career on the West Coast. In the 1990s, Stuppin was part of a group of landscape painters known as the “Sonoma Four,” which also included Bill Wheeler, Tony King, and William Morehouse. Stuppin is represented in New York City by ACA Galleries, and his works are in the permanent collections of twenty-one museums across the country.
Stuppin’s paintings resonate with memory—of hills, cliffs, and vibrant leaves that are simultaneously filled with nostalgia as well as an urgent call to protect this natural beauty for future generations. He vows that if his long art career in California explored the edge of the continent, then, for him, Yonkers and the Hudson River Valley will always poignantly serve as his beginning.