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Duende: The Art of Anthony Quinn

Duende: The Art of Anthony Quinn at the Narrows Center for the Arts

Actor Anthony Quinn was an artist first. According to his bio at the Anthony Quinn Trust website, at age nine Quinn began sculpting, and within three years entered a California statewide competition and won it with his plaster bust of Abraham Lincoln. He began drawing sketches of movie stars he would see when his father would take him along to Zelig’s Studio where he worked. The young Quinn mailed a sketch to Douglas Fairbanks and received a check for twenty-five dollars in return.

Although he had painted and sculpted since childhood, it was not until the 1980’s that Anthony Quinn discovered he could have another career as an artist. According to the bio:

He had always sculpted small pieces of stone and wood he found while he was working on location in the deserts of North Africa and in the Middle East. In the 80’s he began to enlarge these “maquettes” into full-sized sculptures with the intention of decorating his home. To his surprise, people started asking him where they could buy the artwork. He was given a one-man exhibition at a gallery in Honolulu, Hawaii and every piece in the show was sold.

He continued making movies and in his free time would forage among the dunes gathering and saving stones, pieces of rock and scraps of wood. During his time off and between scenes, he would transform the objects – which most people would consider just rocks and stones, into works of art. In everything he saw he found beauty

In addition to his acting, Anthony Quinn wrote two autobiographies and produced thousands of works of art, including paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture, in a wide range of media, from pencil and oil paint to marble and wood.

Painting by Anthony Quinn
Painting by Anthony Quinn

Duende: The Art of Anthony Quinn is now showing at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Massachusetts. Presented by The Anthony Quinn Foundation and Arbella Insurance Foundation, the exhibition will showcase more than 90 objects of Anthony Quinn’s artwork, including small sketches, drawings, paintings, and sculptures, as well as photographs of the artist at work and artifacts from his studio, including his work benches, tools, library resources, sketchbooks, and more. The collection is curated by Curated by Michele L’Heureux.

Duende is a term frequently used in the Spanish arts that Spanish poet, dramatist and theatre director Federico García Lorca referred to as, “a momentary burst of inspiration, the blush of all that is truly alive, all that the performer is creating in a certain moment.”

The show opened October 26, 2012 and continues through to December 29, 2012.

Sculpture by Anthony Quinn (Photo by Mr. Ducke)
Sculpture by Anthony Quinn (Photo by Mr. Ducke)

For more about Anthony Quinn and his love of art, you may want to check out the book  Anthony Quinn’s Eye: A Lifetime of Creating and Collecting Art.

Visit the Pop Life Art homepage for links to more than 100 celebrity sculptors, painters, and photographers.

Related blog post: Anthony Quinn Foundation Awarded Grant to Catalogue Art Collection for Research and Education (March 26, 2013)