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Richard F. Kollorsz (1900-1983)
Grand Central Market
1947

Oil on canvas, 25 x 30 inches. Signed and dated lower right: "R. KOLLORSZ/47"

References:

Biographical material posted at askart.com.

Provenance:

The artist (at least into the 1960s); purchased before May, 1999 by Michael Lawlor, Santa Barbara, CA, from an unidentified dealer at an antiques show in Santa Monica, CA; acquired from the foregoing by Arthur & Peggy Hittner, Natick, MA, May, 1999; sold to New York City art dealer Arthur Hammer, October 21, 1999; consigned by unidentified Northern New Jersey private collector to Trinity International Auctions LLC, Avon, CT; acquired from foregoing, November 6, 2021 (lot 110). 

Notes:

Inscribed "$400" and "GRAND CENTRAL MARKET" on top stretcher and on back of canvas: "GRAND CENTRAL" (lower left) and "RICHARD Kollorsz L. A." (lower right). Framed in 2 ½ inch reproduction gold frame by Larson Juhl.

     The son and brother of painters, Richard Franz Kollorsz was born near Breslau, Germany in 1900. He began his art studies at the Academy of Art in Breslau after which (following World War I) he spent seven years at the Kunstakademie in Dresden. After traveling on a scholarship to Rome, he returned to Dresden to study under the highly influential Otto Dix (1891-1969), a master of the German "New Realism" movement. In 1929, Kollorsz immigrated to Southern California where he developed a close association with Hollywood director Josef Von Sternberg, who directed the classic films of Marlene Dietrich and in whose highly regarded art collection Kollorsz was heavily represented. Eventually, Kollorsz took charge of set designs for Von Sternberg’s American productions.

     Although he worked with the celebrated Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros on a Los Angeles mural project in 1932, Kollorsz was an intensely private individual who exhibited rarely* and generally avoided contact with the local art community. According to the son of a family friend, the artist zealously guarded his output, squirreling his paintings in upright stacks under a canvas covering in his living room.* As a consequence, and despite his considerable talent, Kollorsz and his work are little known today.

     In Grand Central Market, Kollorsz captures the bustling activity of frenzied shoppers at Los Angeles’s oldest food emporium, which continues to operate today at the same downtown location.  The diversity of the city’s populace is aptly reflected in the multitude of individualized figures comprising his composition.  The season is likely winter, judging from the profusion of hats and coats.  The artist paints the scene with gusto, his paint often rendered in a thick impasto imparting volume and texture to everything from hairdos to fruits and vegetables. Facial features are suggested with confident yet economical brushstrokes. 

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* Email correspondence from Eric Vom dorp, January 22, 2021 and November 8, 2021.  The correspondent remembers seeing this particular work at the artist’s home in the Fifties or early Sixties. 

Recollections

     This is one of two paintings (the other being Turnbull’s Tobacco Croppers) we acquired in 1999 and, much to our subsequent dismay, resold shortly thereafter to finance subsequent purchases during the early years of our collecting.  While we managed to reacquire the Turnbull nine years later from the collector to whom we sold it, Grand Central Market took a far more circuitous route back home.  Sold by us to New York art dealer Arthur Hammer, it apparently made its way into a private northern New Jersey collection before its consignment to Trinity International Auctions in Avon, Connecticut in 2021.  Both shocked and delighted when the painting appeared on Trinity’s auction website, I was determined to atone for our earlier faux pas and restore this terrific work to our collection.  Fortunately, we were the successful bidders, albeit at considerably more than we’d sold it for (and three times what we’d originally paid for it).  But all’s well that ends well: Grand Central Market is back in the fold after a twenty-two year detour.