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Nelson H. White
The Red Umbrellas



Painted en plein air on a beach in Italy, Nelson Holbrook White captures the bright light on a sandy beach. Cirrus clouds whirl around in the sky above a horizon of distant land. Six red umbrellas stand gathered in a row, awaiting sunbathers. A single chair stands prominently beside the closest umbrella. Painted thickly with a palatte knife, textures of oil paint layers give a sense of the atmosphere of the scenery. Nelson H. White was born in New London, Connecticut in 1932. White has been surrounded by art and artists from the time he was born. He received his earliest art instruction from his grandfather, Henry Cooke White (1861-1952) and his father Nelson Cooke White (1900-1989), both important American artists. The family lived in Waterford, Connecticut and the elder White had been an early member of the art colony in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Known for his paintings of the Connecticut landscape and shoreline, Henry Cooke White became a teacher to his son, Nelson Cooke White. Living with his parents at the Florence Griswold house in Old Lyme, he met some of the most important and influential artists of the day, Childe Hassam, Will Howe Foote and Harry Hoffman. Later, Nelson White's father began to take his family to summer on Shelter Island and became friendly with many of the artists of the Peconic colony such as Irving Wiles, an important American impressionist. After graduating from the Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts in 1951, Nelson H. White began to study at Mitchell College in Connecticut but left to pursue studies in the violin, musical theory and composition. At this time, he began to spend more time studying art with his father and grandfather. By 1955, Nelson H. White had decided to devote himself to a career as a painter and traveled to Florence, Italy to become an apprentice to Pietro Annigoni, the world-renowned Florentine master. Within two years, the young White had won two awards for his work. While in Florence he also studied with the great Italian teacher, Nerina Simi. Today, White divides his time between the United States and Florence. Although he has received instruction from some very important artists, White's work is highly individual. He paints with great spirit. Upon seeing his work one quickly senses White’s great love for nature and the outdoors. Through his eyes we are able to view and interpret nature in an intimate manner. Whether Nelson H. White is painting the Connecticut shore, a beach in Italy, a pond on Shelter Island or the hills of Vermont, he allows the observer to view a soft, yet dramatic side of nature. His ability to use color, coupled with rich brush work and a graduation of light, air and atmosphere allows one to enjoy a certain mood which is clearly conveyed in White's paintings. It is a mood that leaves us with a lasting impression. White has shown his work in numerous galleries across the globe since the 1950s, from the United States all the way to Italy and Russia. White's first museum restrospective was in the New Britain Museum of American Art in July 2012. His work can be found in many private and public collections, as well as several museums.


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    Sag Harbor, NY
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