January 2012 – January 2013
The Four Seasons Restaurant
99 East 52nd Street, NYC
52 Weeks II, a series of paintings created over the course of a year by Roy Nicholson, is now on view at The Four Seasons restaurant, in the landmark Seagram Building at 99 East 52nd Street in Manhattan. It is installed in the terrace overlooking the main dining/pool room, on the same wall once occupied by Jackson Pollock’s 1952 masterpiece, Blue Poles.
The series comprises 52 paintings, each done during one week, from the summer solstice of 2008 to the summer solstice of 2009. Much of the imagery is based on elements of the artist’s garden at his home and studio in Sag Harbor, New York. All four seasons are represented, although not in strict chronological order.
As Ariella Budick, art critic for The Financial Times, has observed, the serial approach “allows Nicholson to embed himself in various levels of abstraction and representation, degrees of spatial illusion, and color harmonies, all within a single work.”
Week 1 is an evocation of the garden’s languid late June atmosphere, with abstracted columbines glowing in the solstice sunshine. At the winter solstice (Week 27) the stark form of a pitch pine towers above the barren woods. But for the following week, as an antidote to winter’s chill, Nicholson has returned to the garden’s summer lushness, zeroing in on an opulent lily blossom.
This is Nicholson’s second year-long series of paintings. The previous 52 Weeks, painted in 1997, is in the permanent collection of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Georgia.
Organized and curated by Director John Woodward, Woodward Gallery, NYC and a former Four Seasons chef, the installation of 52 Weeks II is the latest feature of the venerable restaurant’s signature art program. During its 62-year history, it has hosted works by many contemporary artists, including Joan Miró, Frank Stella, James Rosenquist and Robert Indiana. Distinctive permanent pieces include a large Picasso stage curtain designed for the Ballet Russes, and a Richard Lippold hanging sculpture over the front bar.