Exhibition - The Radiance of Color: The Paintings of Sam Feinstein

Friday, Jun 21, 2024 from 11:00am to 8:00pm


Curator: Dr. Barbara A. Wolanin

Sam Feinstein (1915-2003), whose paintings are not well-known today, was an outstanding and remarkable colorist.

He was inspired by six decades of summers experiencing the light and seascapes of Cape Cod and by his involvement with the art community especially during the crucial ten years he lived in Provincetown. This exhibition includes early sketches from the 1940s through his monumental masterpieces of the 1990s.

“In painting I try to get energy and spirit across through a sense of radiance. All life is radiant, even the darkest hole…Painting is simply working with units of color to make forms emerge that will express the essential spirituality of life.”

Here, Sam Feinstein expressed the essence of his art, the result of his decades of research into those “units of color” that coalesce, mosaic-like, to create luminosity. The study of modern science affirmed Feinstein’s belief in light as pure energy, in energy as pure spirit, and in light created out of color as the visual expression of spirit. Light was the single shared factor between the three-dimensional world and the two-dimensional reality of the canvas–not the reflection of light upon objets, buta  light created out of the interaction of color: each hue mixed to a single clarity, each tone adjusted to an exact level of lightness of darkness, and each color precisely place in juxtaposition to create a radiant presence.

Feinstein exhibited his paintings widely during the 1950s in Provincetown, New York, and Philadelphia following his study with Hans Hofmann. Each summer for ten years he lived and painted in the house called “Ribbons” at the head of Captain Jack’s Wharf, right across from Hans Hofmann. He was a leading artist, with a painting in Chrysler Collection, served on juries for PAAM, and brought attention to Provincetown art as a contributing editor for Art Digest. Working closely with Hofmann on the narration, he created the first documentary film about  Hofmann’s philosophy and teaching principle. For the remainder of his life, after leaving Provincetown for the quieter mid-Cape town of Dennis, Feinstein remained dedicated to the gestural abstraction he developed in Provincetown and to the creation of radiance out of color.

About the Curator
Dr. Barbara A. Wolanin is the leading scholar of Arthur B. Carles, the Philadelphia modernist and colorist admired by Hans Hofmann. Her publications include the two major exhibition catalogs on Carles and ones for a number of his students. She served as Curator for the Architect of the United States Capitol for 30 years, managing the conservation of mural and sculpture and overseeing publications, research, and exhibitions as well as archives and photography. She taught art history at Trinity College and James Madison University. Dr. Wolanin received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Wisconsin and master’s degrees from Oberlin College and Harvard University. She has served on the boards of the Women’s Caucus for Art and the James Renwick Alliance.

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