Bearded Chess Player

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From an interview with a well know NYC film critic who had made his home in London and met us at our home La Chopera in the Torremolinos of the sixties  (will find it and properly identify).  It was done for the New Yorker magazine in 1968. Appeared in his book of Profiles of those memorable persons he knew approximately 1970.


(1st page missing as well as others)


No longer the worn out at the elbows, bearded chess player in a Village coffee shop.  He was back in a Brooks Brothers suit.  And he hated it. True, he had maintained his individuality.  He was a "filmmaker" at a time when everyone else was specializing.  He'd take a film from its earliest concept to the final fine cut, coddling it, working it, forming it into a thing that was all his won.  He pioneered a new dynamic cutting style.  Her preferred to work in black and white when all the world was involved with color.  He convinced an ad agency or two to go along with some way-out animation concepts.  He set-up his office in his home and, at the end of a production conference, would more often take his clients to dine at the corner Italian restaurant than at "21".  He was a maverick.  But it's not easy to be a maverick in a world of six figure film contracts and complex shooting schedules.  In a world where there were too many men and two many machined and too many hours between one creative step and the next.  In a world of Brooks Brothers suits.


Gino Hollander walked away from film making at the age of 39 and father of five.  Just as my years before he had walked away from the family business.  It wasn't easy.  Now, in addition to alimony and child support, there was a second wife, two children, another on the way. A long term lease on a Fifth Avenue penthouse.  But there was also his untiring energy and an unvoiced need.  He knew there was another mountain he had to climb.  No chess, no Village Coffee House this time:  Hollander rented an east Village loft and began to paint.  Months later he emerged with a roomful of canvases and a new found knowledge of what he was and whet he wanted to do with his life.  The thing he had begun with no particular talent and total lack of background was already showing signs of future greatness.  Though he lacked training, his ability to portray real emotion more than compensated. He trained himself by working.  Each day his hand,his eye, became more sure as hour piled on hour, canvas on canvas.  And he began to sell  -  first at the Village outdoor show, then almost immediately in the huge studio-gallery he rented on Bleeker Street to house the ever burgeoning output.


It was to be some time before his name, his style, was to become well known.  But meanwhile the Hollander Gallery was established and was to remain.


From the first Hollander went his own way.  Not only in his style, which was uniquely his own, but in his refusal to become involved in the art world.  He chose no master, watched no one paint, avoided exhibitions and dealers.  He simply painted  -  and exhibited everything that he did.  He was not satisfied with his work  -  nor is he today but he showed it anyway.  The bad along with the good.  And little by little he began to be discovered, and to discover himself.


In 1962 Hollander took another step away from his past, packed up his family and moved to the southern coast of Spain.  The Costa del Sol, in the autumn of 1962, was yet to be discovered.  It was still a sleepy Spanish backwater through which an occasional British or German tourist would pass.  Here Hollander settled his family into an enormous crumbling farmhouse with the sea in the front yard and the mountains in the back, proceeded to paint.  No telephones to interrupt.  No traffic noises.  He was alone with the sea, the mountains and the brilliant blue of the Spanish sky.


The years were good to Hollander.  Each day the work improved.  He found an immediate affinity for the Spanish countryside, its people, its relentless sun.  His brush, his palette knife echoed the mood he found in the Andalucian hills. He developed the themes that were to grow so familiar,  the countryside villages, the seascapes with their tiny vulnerable fishing boats, the fighting bulls of the Spanish corrida, signifying to him all of masculinity, swirling groups of faceless people, and best know of all, the Hollander women  -  forever adolescent, forever waiting, hopeful, then the nudes, the erotica's, black and white, women in windows.


Each morning's  sun rose on another group of canvasses piled in the studio.  Canvases which for him had no meaning once they were completed. He was and is an emotional painter.  His paintings are pure feeling rather than technique.  They require an emotional response from the viewer.  As there developed more and more canvases there........


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