Sunday, November 23, 2008


In November I embarked on a lengthy trip which brought me to to France, Finland and Denmark. In France, I met with Henri Bruel, the leading living French Naive artist and aquired 23 of his paintings for purposes of an individual exhibition that will be displayed in GINA Gallery Tel Aviv in January 2009.

The trip to Finland deepened GINA Gallery's relationship with 2 artists, Katja Mesikammen and Aimo Katajainen, emerging with 7 additional works. Finally, in Denmark, I met with 8 new Danish artists and aquired approximately 25 new artworks. All of the paintings aquired in Finland and Denmark are being sent to GINA Gallery Tel Aviv and will be diplayed, commencing on December 4, 2008 in a new exhibition entitled, "Naivism: Celebrating the Human Narrative. " The opening of the exhibition coincides with GINA Gallery Tel Aviv's 5th anniversary which will be celebrated in a gala fashion in the presence of GINA Gallery's major supporters.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



I just returned to GINA Gallery New York, where I will be spending the next 2 weeks, after a fruitful trip to several destinations throughout Italy. During my visits with many talented Naives in Florence, Milan, Modena, Pisa, Porto Fino and Torino I began gathering paintings that will form the basis of our early spring GINA New York exhibit exclusively spotlighting the leading Italian Naives. I returned to New York with 50 paintings and look forward to my follow-up visit to Italy in early January to expand this collection to around 90 original paintings.

Stay tuned for notes on my next trip to Scandanavia in early November when I will be visiting 5 or 6 new Danish Naives on a quest for additional pieces to supplement my September trip to this enchanting country.

Friday, September 26, 2008

GINA Gallery Upcoming Events

Saturday, September 27, 2008 - Westover School International Students Tour
Monday, September 29 - October 1, 2008 - GALLERY CLOSED for HOLIDAY
Thursday, October 9, 2008 - GALLERY CLOSED for HOLIDAY
Saturday, October 11, 2008 - "Marketing Your Art" seminar with Ann Priftis, Gallery Director
Friday, October 17, 2008 - "The Effect of Art Patrons on Local Global Economies" seminar with
Ann Priftis for 34th Annual International Conference on Social
Theory, Politics & the Arts
Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - Columbus Pre-School Cocktail Reception
Thursday, October 23, 2008 - "Winsome Days; Wondrous Nights; The Naives of Argentina" Gala Opening Reception
Thursday, October 30, 2008 - "The Creative Lawyer" by Michael Melcher Book Launch
Wednesday, November 19, 2008 - Lynx Ensemble Theater 1st Annual Fund Raiser
Saturday, November 22, 2008 - Film Premiere
Thursday, November 27, 2008 - GALLERY CLOSED for HOLIDAY

Friday, September 19, 2008



I have just returned from a week’s trip to Denmark, Sweden and Finland. This was my first visit to meet the Naives of Scandinavia and proved to be extremely interesting and fruitful. All 3 countries have a rich tradition of naïve art and I was delighted to encounter 2 Danish artists, 3 Swedish artists and 4 Finnish artists, each with a unique personal style and refreshing reflection of daily life in the pastoral villages of Scandinavia. I returned home with 40 new artworks, which will be displayed initially in GINA Gallery Tel Aviv and eventually at GINA Gallery New York. My hope is to return to Scandinavia in November of this year to deepen the relationship with those artists I visited during the first trip and to meet additional artists in each of the countries thus expanding GINA Gallery’s coverage of naïve art in this lovely region of the world.

Travel Log:

- The scope of the Scandinavians’ style further underscored the naives genre’s rich diversity of styles – naivism cannot be pigeonholed.

- Everyday life is the focus of their work with an orientation towards city or village scenes as opposed to landscapes.

- Many of the naives here are very popular and have a regular following. One artist in particular was embarking upon a solo show of about 20 works in a local café. 17 of these sold within 48 hours of the exhibit opening.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Naivism: A Genre Whose Time Has Come

Giovani Galli, "Soft Sunlight" - Italy

For many, the term "naivism" or "naive art" conjures up the verdant valleys and happy hamlets of Anna Mary Robertson ("Grandma") Moses, the luxuriant vegetation and exotic jungles of Henri Rousseau, and the balmy South Sea Isles and pristine Tahitian women of Paul Gauguin. Brazilians identify naive art with the fascinating figures of Ivonaldo; the colorful field workers of Ana Maria Dias; and the resplendent forests of Louis Ferreira. Eastern European naive art is associated with the powerful village scenes of Ivan Generalic and Martin Jonas, while, in Israel, we recall the rich Biblical scenes and Kabbalistic imagery of the Safed watchmaker Shalom Moscovitz, lovingly known as "Shalom of Z'fat," and the anachronistic phantasmagoria of Gabriel Cohen.

Naivism Defined

Naivism or naive art is characterized by a refreshing innocence and the charming use of bright colors, child-like perspective and idiosyncratic scale. It portrays simple, easily-understandable and often idealized scenes of everyday life. The naive artist - often self-taught - treats us to a uniquely literal, yet extremely personal and coherent, vision of what the world was, is or should be. It offers us, often in painstaking detail, a timeless and optimistic depiction of an ancient story or Biblical tale, an ordinary occurrence or current event, a special ceremony or daily activity. The naive painting bustles with color and excitement, brims with wry humor and candor, bubbles with unbridled empathy and love.

The Universality of Naivism

The visitor to a naive art gallery or museum is struck by the genre's mesmerizing nature and near-universal appeal. Perhaps this appeal stems from the celestial, joy-inspiring palette of colors chosen by naive artists to portray their subjects. Maybe it is the enchantingly simple scenes, which recall an earlier era, when life was less frenetic. Or could it be the timeless nature of the subject matter, reminding us of opportunities missed, of wondrous roads less traveled? One conclusion is certain: this is art that warms the heart and soothes the soul!

Naivism's timeless, universal appeal also stems from the fact that it is "art that warms the heart." This phrase is not platitudinous; it is factual. Artworks of most other genres - expressionism, cubism, surrealism, abstract and the like - provide us, initially, with an intellectual challenge; only later (if at all) do they touch our hearts. Naive art's initial impact is upon our hearts; only later are our minds engaged. Perhaps this is why the lovely figurative image - of the artist dipping her brush in her heart before beginning to paint - befits naivism so perfectly.

Expanding the "Mainstream"

The art world has erected and nurtured a wall of exclusivity - distinguishing those who are "in" from those who are "out." In the 1980's, Henri Rousseau, the pioneer of the art movement in Eurpoe, was considered an "outsider," and was forced to display his works outside of the Establishment's halls, salons and museums, But he was not alone: Van Gogh, Lautrec, Seurat, Bonnard and Matisse (to name but a few) were labeled "outsiders" as well, and were excluded from the same institutions. In light of the pantheonic heights of the art world assumed by these artists today, it is clear that very few art connoisseurs are graced with the vision and wisdom to discriminate between the great and the commonplace, the immortal and evanescent.

Today, when a person well-versed in the art world is asked what is naive art, the respondent often mentions the artworks of Henri Rousseau or "Grandma" Moses. Indeed, Rousseau and "Grandma" Moses are excellent examples of naive artists; that their names come to mind is certainly understandable. Happily, however, these "giants" are but two of the thousands of talented naive artists who have, throughout the ages, thrilled us with their brilliant artworks. The world deserves to be conversant, as well, with the works of Genevieve Jost (Canada), Genevieve Peyrade (France), Marie-Louise Batardy (Belgium), Hedvig Makai (Hungary), Sophia M. Kalogeropoulou (Greece), Dusan Jevtovic (Serbia), Pero Topljak Petrina (Croatia), Ivonaldo (Brazil) and Roque Zelaya (Honduras), to name but a few. The artworks of these individuals, and those of their many talented colleagues, comprise an undiscovered cornucopia of art treasures.

GINA Gallery: A Pioneering Naive Art Venture

The effective display, marketing and promotion of naivism is on the critical path to changing the world's image of naive art and to overcoming the existing ignorance and prejudice regarding the genre.

Much money is required to achieve this goal, and, understandably, most entrepreneurs are reluctant or unable to finance all (or even a major portion) of these expenditures silmultaneously. As a result, we find naive art establishments that have less than optimum space or staff, or less than optimum lighting or street frontage; that are far removed from the city centers; or that are inadequately advertised and promoted. Regrettably, we also find galleries that do not print high-quality printed matter, thereby failing to present naive art in the most favorable light.

The Bible (Ecclesiastes, XI: 1) urges us to "cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it." This advice appears to be especially relevant to the world of naivism: we must spend money to make money.

By gathering and displaying worldwide naive art in an environment of joy and cheer, and at an easily -accessible site, with proper lighting and space, and with the support of museum-quality catalogues and other printed matter, GINA Gallery intends to expand the existing art lovers' awareness and appreciation of this multifaceted art form, and to introduce the wondrous beauty of this unique, approachable genre to those who have been reluctant (for whatever the reason) to visit art galleries and museums, thereby allowing naive art, and those who paint it, to assume their proper place in the pantheon of the art world.

The Dawning of the Age of Naivism

We are living in a world of overdrive. Frustrations are increasing; little joys and peaceful moments are vanishing. Nature's resources are diminishing; its beauties are disappearing. Technologies are dwarfing humanity and overwhelming society.

One senses a silent revolution in the offing: people seeking refuge the frenetic pressures of the outside world, and - at least in the pleasant confines of their homes - to experience joy and peace.

Naivism is therefore a genre whose time has come. Naive art returns us to the happy life of timeless values, themes and traditions; to heartfelt images of farm workers and village life; to joyful celebrations and festivals; to portrayals of common folk moving to the beat of a different drummer. Naivism's innocent, idealized world, its rich palette of colors, its peaceful narrative of the day's events, remind us of happier moments and sunnier climes, a refreshing taste of a better place and time.

By embracing naivism, we support the naive artists' quest for "Paradise Lost" and encourage them to share their timeless vision of everyday life, to bare the child-like ruminations of their hearts and souls, and to relate - by means of brush, paint and canvas - the fairy tale figments of their fertile imaginations.

This is the dawning of the Age of Naivism, and the world will hear - and heed - the genre's clarion call: "Don't be naive, buy naive!"

Dan S. Chill, Managing Director
GINA - Gallery of International Naive Art
c All rights reserved September 2008