All good things come to those that wait. A VIP visit from Nicholas King, former Executive Director of the Philadelphia based Barnes Foundation, validates The Knapp Gallery’s collection of Christopher Callahan’s paintings. The Barnes Foundation collection, considered by many as the world’s foremost private collection of impressionist and post impressionist paintings, includes 180 Renoirs, 69 Cezannes, 60 Matisses and 44 Picassos.
In the mid 70s, at the early age of 21, Callahan began working at the Barnes Foundation in a custodial capacity under Nicholas King, then Superintendent. Soon recognized as an artistic prodigy, Callahan became the protégé of now deceased and infamous former foundation Director, Violette de Mazia. During the mid nineties, after the death of Miss de Mazia, King having been appointed to the Directorship called Christopher back to the foundation as a docent lecturer! The extensive history/story of the Callahan - King - Barnes Foundation troika is book worthy. The overall influence of this history rings true throughout Callahan’s extensive body of work.
Having known Callahan in varied capacities, it’s been 10 years since Nicholas King has seen Christopher’s paintings. Thrilled at the direction and progression of Callahan’s work, King keenly isolated Chris’ most recent work. “This must be Chris’s latest work,” pointing to the lone untitled painting hanging on the back wall of the gallery. “It’s a thrill to see where he’s come in the past ten years.”
I’ve suggested a reunion between the two and asked if the gallery could facilitate. Before leaving, King signed the register; “Chris, very very proud of your work. Congratulation! “
Christopher Callahan’s paintings will hang until September 27th.