Jerry Moon / Thomas Hart Benton

We sold a fine painting by Jerry Moon today, posted it above.

Jerry’s one crazy dude. When he first came to me, in 2000, he was painting only in egg tempera. If you dig this medium, then you know that you have to break eggs, remove the whites, beat the yokes, then apply water and powdered pigment for each color. The result is brilliant color in an extremely durable medium.

This was the medium of the ancient Greeks. It was also that of Thomas Hart Benton, who painted some of his best-known murals in egg tempera. Particularly he painted “The Social History of Missouri” in tempera (using thousands of eggs). This enormous piece, which surrounds one great chamber in the State Capitol Building, illustrates Missouri history–its sacrifices, its violence, its nobility, its corruption–with stunning candor. Of course it freaked out the politicians of the day (1935), who were not the least interested in truth (not that they often are now either), but Benton didn’t give a damn. He painted what he wanted, how he wanted. They threatened to not pay him, he told them to got to hell, they paid.

Jerry Moon painted in this rare medium that requires such utter discipline and focus. But it took him so long to finish one freaking painting, with those tiny brushes that he used, that at last I talked him into switching to oil. The mixing of colors was faster, and simpler. So he switched, and the painting above reflects the result. Notice the hint of the curvature of the earth in the piece, and how that gives it–along with the perspective–a feeling of enormity, even though this work is only an 18 x 24.

Nice job, Jerry.

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