"The Witch",acrylic/oil on canvas, signed lower right. Collection from the Estate of the Artist. Measurements 36" x 30"; framed: 38" x 32" Condition Soiled; minor paint loss. Frame rubbed and abraded. Audrey Skaling Papadaki, painter and sculptor and known professionally simply as Skaling, died in Santa Barbara, California on 3 March 2008, age 96. Born in British Columbia in 1912, she was educated at the University of Buffalo and the University of Syracuse, in New York, gaining a summa cum laude degree in Fine Arts. To sustain her early career Skaling painted portraits but her artistic leanings were really toward abstraction. One of her early dealers was the collector Earl Stendahl with galleries of Los Angeles. During WWII she worked for the government in the Department of Defense drawing maps. The Julius Carlebach Gallery of New York City for the next seven years was her dealer at the recommendation of Pierre Matisse and Fernand Leger. Towards the end of the war Audrey Skaling’s life really began to blossom in every way, when she met and married the world renowned architect and author Stamo Papadaki, a friend and co-worker of Wallace Harrison, Lucio Costa, and Oscar Niemeyer, she became part of the international art and architectural scene of the day. Together they counted among their friends Le Corbusier, Fernand Leger, Jose Luis Sert, Edgar Varese, Naum Gabo, James Sweeney, Kurt Seligmann, and Basil Goulandris, to name but a few. Alexander Calder and his wife Louisa, in particular, became life-long friends and neighbors. Audrey and Stamo settled in Connecticut where they spent more than 50 happy and productive years. Audrey Skaling’s dealer during these years was Ruth White, in whose 57th Street gallery in New York City she had many fruitful exhibitions of paintings and sculpture. In her earlier work, Skaling often eschewed conventional perspective and with the forms of her subject becoming fluid surfaces set in a plane. Later she found a new realism filled with emotion. ‘Deer Contemplating his Image’ in a pond or ‘Man Reading a Newspaper’ sitting on a park bench are spellbinding in the sympathy they elicit from the viewer. And there are jolly portraits of small families of animals, cows or pigs, say, which exude the very essence of their beings. Skaling’s sculptures are made of wood, carved and constructed and then painted. Many of these such as ‘The Roadrunner’ resemble imaginary birds. In 1970 Skaling published A Bee Sees: a collection of nonsense verse interleaved with clever, intricate pen and ink drawings of creatures made from interconnected everyday items of corkscrews, rope, pliers, etc. Her works are in museums and private collections in Athens, Rio de J’aniero, Geneva, and New York City. Many of Skaling’s works, exhibition announcements, press releases, magazine clippings can be viewed at the Smithsonian Institution web-site from the Ruth White Gallery records.
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