"If you like it; do more of it, if ya don't like it; stop doing it!"
Gino (Eugene Forman) Hollander was born in Newark, NJ in 1924.
He had two very different careers before he began painting. The first one as part of the U.S. Army’s Mountain Division Ski Troop in WWII. Hollander was twice wounded, and decorated for action in the Italian campaign.
The second one as an award-winning director and documentary filmmaker. He met and married Barbara Johnson. Barbi renamed him "Gino" and together they directed films.
Gino Hollander began painting in 1960 at the time that a new medium - acrylic paint - was emerging and he was among the first to explore its possibilities.
Gino was a self-taught painter who developed a unique 'figurative abstract expressionist' style.
Viewing his work now, one becomes aware of the virtuosity of both the painter and his medium. There are canvasses with the subtle oriental feeling of dry brush done in India ink, there are thick built up swirls of garish color or soft transparent hues, paint shoveled on with a palette knife, drips and blobs and fine line drawings, as well a mixture of oil medium with the acrylic, sometimes all of these things on one five foot canvas. The end result is pure emotion. You hate it or you love it but it is difficult to remain neutral.
From 1960 to 1962, Gino ran his first Hollander Gallery on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village, New York.
In 1962, just as New York was becoming the center of painting and artistic culture, replacing Paris, Gino quit his successful film career and moved his family to Spain. His wife thought he was crazy. He continued painting, at first bartering his canvases to feed his family, and then he found his success, showing his work internationally.
Gino quickly became a bullfight aficionado and ran with the bulls in Pamplona many times. He learned Spanish horsemanship and attended the horse fairs of Sevilla and Malaga. In 1973, Gino and his children rode 1,200 kilometers across Spain to Pamplona. In 1970 tragedy struck when Gino's eldest son Marc died from an accident in Spain.
Gino built his dream house near Pizarra, inland from the crowded coast. In 1982, he and his wife opened Museo Hollander in Spain, showcasing his works for more than 50,000 visitors. The collection exhibited everything from prehistoric flints to antique Spanish furnishings alongside Gino's paintings. Visitors were encouraged to touch and share Spain's cultural heritage. In recognition for his contribution and preservation of Spanish culture, Gino was awarded a Silver Medallion honoring King Juan Carlos' birthday. In 1990, they donated the museum to the Spanish government.
They lived in Aspen, Colorado until 2009, when they moved to Ojai, California.
Gino Hollander passed away on August 27, 2015.
Gino has led a very bold life, filled with excitement – good and bad – and it’s showcased in his powerfully abstract paintings. The moments in his life fill his canvases. He writes that his work “is a messy symphony, a dialectic conversation on canvas about life…life as chaos, as a mirror reflecting his stories, uniting perfectly into magnum opus.”
He mingled with artist, “Jack the Dripper,” also known as Jackson Pollock, raced driver Steve McQueen in his ’57 Chevy, and was requested by Rockwell to paint for a presidential commission. He rescued Jacqueline Kennedy from paparazzi in Pamplona – literally on horseback – and hosted her in his studio. He has also played host to author, James Michener, and Italian opera star, Luciano Pavarotti – singing as he cooked dinner for Gino and his wife.
His many collectors include: Jacqueline Kennedy, Steve McQueen, Norman Rockwell, Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein, HRH Queen Sophia of Spain, Burt Lancaster, Luciano Pavarotti, Norman Mailer, Jerry Lewis, and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
The artist has more than 11,000 original paintings located throughout the world and he has had one-man shows in many prestigious galleries and museums, including: Gstaad Palace, Switzerland, Fran-Nell Gallery, Tokyo, Lindstrom Gallery, Stockholm, Casa Culturea, Malaga, Spain, Circle Gallery, Los Angeles, Gallerie Siglo Vente, Brussels.
Gino has his work displayed in more than forty museum and public collections, including: Museo de Belles Artes, Spain, Andrew D. White Museum, Ithaca, New York, Greenville County Museum of Art, South Carolina, Churchill College, Cambridge, England, New York University Art Collection, New York, DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado, Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles, California, Vogue Magazine Headquarters, New York, JFK International Airport, New York, CBS Headquarters, New York, Carnegie Hall, New York.