Sacramento River, 1981.
Gregory Kondos (American, 1923–2021)
Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of First Interstate Bank of California, 1991.30.1.

Gregory Kondos executes thickly painted landscapes known for their buttery spread of bright, warm color. Even the cool tones of blue in a Kondos painting are heated, evoking sun-warmed expanses of summer sky and water. The intensity of color and heat broadly flattens detail and is common in Sacramento, where he has painted and taught for half a century.

In his use of high-keyed color and broad paint handling Kondos shows an affinity to artists such as Roland Petersen, Bay Are artist Raimonds Staprans, and Wayne Thiebaud, with whom he shares an abiding friendship. Unique to Kondos, however, is his verity to subject. Arguably, Petersen and Staprans overtly generalize the landscape, while Thiebaud’s landscape forays are about pattern and its role in establishing illusion. Kondos’s compositions are balanced in order to express not only the tranquility of the scene, but also the pleasure of solitary communion with nature. The artist offers, “If you look at my work, you will find qualities of quietness and cleanliness, but, above all, you’ll find that I’m a loner.”(1)

(1) Bill Bradley et al., “Sacramento’s 100,” Sacramento News & Review, 22 February 2001.

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