Monday, December 27, 2010

"Red Sea", 2008, oil/ gessoed ragboard, 15"-16" by Marc Salz, from the "Genetic Moments" series. This series has many paintings with eyes looking in all directions, up, down and sideways. They could be seen as "human minimalism" or better said, "HU-minimalism" or "HUE-minimalism". I was also interested in where the eyes were pointing as in Spanish religious paintings (El Greco, Zurbaran) and in the almost cartoony way they were painted. They look up towards heaven, down towards earth and sideways at each other.
"Green Sea"(for Andrei Tarkovsky), 2008, oil/ gessoed ragboard, 17"-18". Andrei Tarkovsky was a film director who used water as a character. An example from the Tarkovsky film "Stalker": .
"Red Rivers", 2009, oil/ gessoed ragboard, 19"-15".
"Incantations", 2007, oil/ gessoed ragboard, 17"-16".

Sam Salz and Dr.Albert Barnes.

My father's(Sam Salz) early first major collector was Dr.Albert Barnes who's collection of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists became the well known Barnes Foundation in Merion,Pa. that is now in it's new home near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Sam Salz had met Dr.Barnes indirectly through Soutine and his dealer Zborovsky. Barnes had bought many Soutines and featured his paintings as part of his collection at the Foundation's home in Merion. After the sale, my father introduced Dr.Barnes to the famous Impressionist dealer Ambroise Vollard. In his early days as an art dealer, Vollard would give my father paintings to sell as a way of teaching him the trade. Later Barnes decided to invite Vollard to view his collection when he came to America. According to my father's story, when Vollard entered the main room of the Foundation, he immediately saw a room filled with great masterpieces (Matisse, Cezanne, Seurat etc...). Upon entering the room, Vollard stepped down one of the steps and accidently fell on the floor. Somewhat shaken by the experience, the dealer rose to his feet as Barnes exclaimed: "Just think, you could have died in the company of these great masterpieces". Vollard responded: "This man is crazy!" and he ran out of the room.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

“Balloonatic”, 2005, oil/wood, 18”-29”. For Buster Keaton.

"Planetarium", 2010, oil/wood, 21"-21".

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Family Tree”, 2005, oil/Baltic birch, 20”-25”.

"Couple", 1999, oil/wood, 18"-22". Portrait of a couple with an intervening oval. For my wife Elena Salz.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My mother Marina Salz (stage name Marina Lord) in a forties publicity photo for Hollywood. This photo was done in the "Bruno of Hollywood" studios in New York.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Game Plans", 2008-2010, oil/wood, 25"-28". From the "Narrative Abstractions" series by Marc Salz. When he was three years old, our grandson Sammy did an imprint of his hand. This painting done later includes the imprint and puts it in a game board context.

"The Artist and the Model", 2008-2010, oil/wood, 26"-29.5". I used to like, and still do, Picasso's series on "The Artist and His Model". It's a well worn subject in art history. The fat white shape(right) or the blue skinny shape(left) could be the artist or the model. It's up to you the viewer to decide.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

When paintings are worth the price of music: Sam Salz and Vladimir Horowitz.

When I was growing up in our home with my father the art dealer Sam Salz, there was a special small room in the back of the house for playing cards. Many of my father's customers would come and play gin rummy or bridge there. Aside from a card table, the room had a small bar while the walls were lined with photos of the actor Edward G. Robinson, the writer Erich Maria Remarque and other personalities my father knew. Two of the visitors and card players that would come there were the virtuoso pianist Vladimir Horowitz and the choreographer George Balanchine. Horowitz wanted to buy two Impressionist paintings from my father but he could not meet my father's asking price. He also had been losing at bridge so my father decided to make a deal with him: Horowitz could give a free concert for my parents at his apartment and he then could buy the paintings for his lower price. Both my father and mother later went to Horowitz's place and he played for them a concert of Ravel and Debussy. Horowitz ended up with the paintings.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Earth Tears", 2002, by Marc Salz. oil/wood, 21"-22". One from my series titled the "Talmudic Abstractions". The format of these paintings was based on the Jewish Talmud which consists of a central text of law (Torah) with surrounding visual "commentaries" like the ones made by rabbis and scholars. This series came after my one on triptychs that had an early Renaissance Christian influence in their format. Both can now be seen as paying tribute the Judeo-Christian tradition in art although I wanted to give the Talmud group the same weight and importance as the more historically familiar triptychs.
"Water, Water", 2001, oil/wood. 21"-22". Dedicated to Romanian Jewish poet Paul Celan who survived the Holocaust but ended his life in water. Here is an example of Celan reading a poem in German about the Holocaust:
And the English translation:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Trilogy", 1989, oil/wood, 19"-25" by Marc Salz. Between 1987 and 1997, I painted a series of paintings based on the format of the 14th and 15th century Sienese triptychs. These pieces were shown in solo and group shows at the Dolan Maxwell Gallery(1989) and the More Gallery(1991-1995). A few were selected for shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia(1991) and the Chicago International Art Exposition(1989). The final shows of the series were at the Ganser Gallery at Millersville University(1996) and at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia(1997).

"Shrine", 1989, oil/wood, 21"-25".
"Wing", 1990, oil/wood, 19"-20".
"Limbo”,1995, oil/wood, 24”-25”.
"Before the Fire", 1997, oil/wood, 28"-35".

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"Twists and Turns”, 2009, watercolor/gouache, 16.5”-14”.
“Fireballs", 2010, oil/ragboard, 19.5"-17".

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Sky Crossing", 2010, oil/ragboard, 20"-17".

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Diego Rivera, Edward G. Robinson and my father Sam Salz in Rivera's San Francisco studio (unknown photographer). The actor Robinson was there to pose for Rivera's "Pan American Unity" mural that he made for the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1940 on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay. In the mural, he is depicted in a scene from a movie he made then titled "Confessions of a Nazi Spy". For more on the mural here is a link:
And another link with this photo on a timeline in 1940 made for Diego Rivera:
While my father was in San Francisco at that time (1940), his portrait by Edouard Vuillard was being exhibited at the California Palace of The Legion of Honor. Robinson and his family also had their portraits painted by Vuillard while on the same trip to  Paris with my father (1939).

Sam and Marina Salz on the terrace of the Carlton Hotel, Cannes, in the South of France in the early sixties. Seated at the table from right to left: singer/actor Eddie Fisher, Sam Salz, Marina Salz and singer/songwriter/producer Georgie Jessel ("Toastmaster General of the United States").

Sam Salz in California and the South of France.

During the early 1930's, my father came to know and sell art to some of the great Hollywood stars and directors of that era such as Greta Garbo, Orson Welles,Jack Warner,Billy Wilder. One of these was the actor Edward G. Robinson who originally came from Romania but grew up in New York. He used to act in the Yiddish theatre under his real name Emmanuel Goldenberg. When the movie producers discovered him, they began by typecasting him as a "gangster" or mob figure. His first major film was "Little Ceaser" in which he played one of these kinds of characters. He later went on to play a more select group of roles(a doctor, a painter, etc..). He was an avid collector of art and was one of the first admirers of artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. In 1939, both he and my father made a trip to Paris before the Nazi invasion to have their individual portraits painted by Edouard Vuillard. His association with Diego Rivera did put him in danger of the blacklist during the Joseph McCarthy time but he was not in as much trouble as other actors then. He went on to have a full career and his art collection was one of the best ones in Hollywood with the help of my father. Sam Salz continued his contact with these Hollywood personalities by playing cards with Jack Warner, Billy Wilder and others on the beach in Cannes. Singer Eddie Fisher and songwriter/producer George Jessel would also visit. My parents also had lunch with Kirk Douglas and his wife who also bought art. It was pleasure mixed with business for him since he got them to relax and maybe consider buying one more painting.

Monday, July 5, 2010

“The Subterraneans”,  2007, watercolor/gouache, 15"-14" by Marc Salz. When you scratch the surface of the earth and continue going deeper, who knows what life lives beneath it.
"Ornamental Worlds”, 2004, watercolor/gouache, 14”-15”.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Cinderella Ball", a photo by Weegee(1941). My mother posed for this while in her motorized peacock costume for a benefit at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. She was dancing in Radio City Music Hall at the time and used the stage name Marina Lord instead of her Ballets Russes name Marina Franca. The costume consisted of 827 rare Australian feathers while the size of the fan tail was eleven feet high by fourteen feet wide.
Marina Lord(Salz) in her peacock costume for Radio CityMusic Hall(photo by Bruno of Hollywood).
A drawing by Al Hirschfeld of my mother, stage name Marina Lord, in her peacock costume, for the New York Herald Tribune, 1941.

Marina Lord's(Salz's) peacock dance at Radio City Music Hall.

In 1940 my mother left the Ballets Russes only to find out that her figure and style of dancing did not fit into choreographer George Balanchine's requirements. She was a Dutch woman alone in New York with her relatives in Europe during the war trying to find a new outlet for her dancing talents. Her stage name at the time was Marina Franca but she decided to change it to Marina Lord. She tried sending publicity photos to Hollywood and even did a commercial to promote ballet slippers but nothing seemed to materialize as a viable alternative. Finally through an agent she was hired to perform a dance in a peacock costume at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The job was humiliating for her since she had received so much classical ballet training in Paris with Russian teachers. For the peacock dance, she was required to wear a huge construction of feathers behind her back with a motor that activated the moving feathers when she bent forward. For publicity, she was photographed with the costume in the peacock cage of the Central Park Zoo. The famous cartoonist Al Hirshfeld did a drawing of her for the Herald Tribune. The New York documentary photographer WeeGee did a picture of her in the costume titled "Cinderella Ball".

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A painting donation to the White House.

Around 1962, Sam Salz (my father) donated a painting to the Kennedy White House titled "The Signing of The Declaration of Independence" by the French artist Charles Edouard Armand Dumaresq(1826-1895). He wanted to give a gift to America for having welcomed him after his escape from Nazi dominated Europe. In the late eighties, First Lady Barbara Bush decided to hang the painting over the fireplace in the Cabinet Room. It has been there ever since. Jacqueline Kennedy also bought a Monet for the White House but with Kennedy funds. It's also still there in the White House. It was President Clinton's favorite painting. "The Signing...." painting hung above my bed when I was twelve years old before it was donated (photo from TIME magazine). For more on this painting from Wikipedia go to:,_c1873.png or the White House web site at:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Cage", 2001, oil/wood, 19"-15". This painting was made around the time of 9/11. It was shown in a Russian artists show close to the site a few months later. The gallery was located way under ground in the basement of a Russian bar two blocks from where one of the jet engines landed. The gallery was named Artyama, "yama" meaning cave in Russian. I only noticed later that the black and white patterns were similar to the pseudo Islamic arches on the lower part of the Trade Centers.

"Blue Notes", 2002, oil/wood, 19"-18".

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Babies Marc and Andre Salz with their father Sam Salz, art dealer, near a Renoir(1952). This Renoir is now in the Museum of Art in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Years later I was lucky to visit the Durand-Ruel family home in Paris where Renoir's two paintings, "The Dance in the City" and "The Dance in the Country", were hanging in their dinning room. There are no Renoirs in our own home. Just paintings by friends, teachers and my own work (posted Father's Day, 2010).

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Things Grow", 2001, oil/wood, 20"-24". A painting from the "Narrative Abstractions" Series. I was thinking about what to do with the darker pink vessel shape on the right when I passed a man at a bus stop who had a large almost ball size growth on his neck. Things grow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

"Scribe", 1999(revised 2002), oil/wood, 19"-22". From the "Narrative Abstractions" series. This series was shown at the Design Arts Gallery of Drexel University, Philadelphia in December 1999-January 2000.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Celeste's World", 1998, oil/wood, 21"-30". From the same series, this one is dedicated to my cat named Celeste who lived for eighteen years.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Self Portrait with Masks" By James Ensor, 1937, oil/canvas, 12"-9" (The Philadelphia Museum of Art).

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"White and Red Clowns Evolving" by James Ensor, 1890, pencil, ink and gouache on paper, 9"-11".
"Clown Time"(for James Ensor), 2007, oil/wood, 14"-18". A shaped painting by Marc Salz.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Marina Franca, my mother Marina Salz, in a costume designed by Henri Matisse for the Ballets Russes production of "Rouge et Noir"(1939) with music by Dimitri Shostakovich. Matisse had already completed his murals in the arches at the Barnes Foundation in Merion Pa. when he then did the set and costumes for this ballet. The remnants of the set are at Butler University:
Marc Salz and "The Serf" by Henri Matisse at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (photo by Ted Knerr).

Henri Matisse and my parents (Sam and Marina Salz).

In 1939, my mother Marina Franca(Salz) danced in the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo's production of "Rouge et Noir"("Red and Black") with costumes designed by Henri Matisse. The ballet was based on a work by Stendhal with the music of Dimitri Shostakovich. Matisse had finished his versions of the Barnes Foundation murals before he did the ballet's background which also consisted of large arches as those above the central windows of the Foundation's home in Merion, Pennsylvania.My father had known Henri Matisse and sold many of his works during his lifetime. The paintings he handled were mostly those from Matisse's middle "Nice period" which were less modernist than the earlier or later works. He visited Matisse several times when he was vacationing in the South of France. He used to tell me that Matisse would always test a color on a piece of paper, place it where he wanted it on the canvas and then after that fill it in directly with a brush. These preliminary tests of colors on paper could have lead to the painter's later cut outs with paper.In the middle fifties my parents gave Matisse's early sculpture "The Serf" to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It was a fitting tribute to a great artist and a way to remember his connection with my parents. Here is a link to MoMA and "The Serf":

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My mother Marina Salz in a ballet pose from when she danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo under the name Marina Franca.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My mother in a Russian costume during her early days with the Ballet Russe.