Once upon a time, there was a creative soul named Claude Lawrence. Born in Chicago, he moved to New York City and lived the artistic life of a jazz musician making music in venues all over the city and absorbing everything that the mythical NY of the 1970′s and 80′s had to offer.
He also loved to paint, and while it was not his main source of income, Claude painted and drew and made art with a dogged persistence, creating visual work which mirrored the lyrical and improvisational qualities of his music.
Eventually, Claude moved back to Chicago, dedicating most of his time to working with paints. He was an outsider, both by virtue of his location far from the center of the art world, and the fact that he was self taught.
But a year or two ago, the wind shifted direction, and a body of his work emerged from a storeroom where it had been hiding for many years. Collectors and galleries took note. Two pieces were shown in the Hamptons. Several more went to a gallery in Santa Fe. And suddenly, Claude Lawrence found himself in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery, The Brooklyn Museum, NOMA (The New Orleans Museum of Art), and The Studio Museum in Harlem, among others.
Which just goes to show you that hard work really does pay off, even if it takes awhile.
The Gerald Peters Gallery in New York is currently showing his work and the sky seems to be the limit. The show is up through March 26 and MOMA is sponsoring a reception and artist talk at the gallery this Wednesday (25 March) from 6 – 8 pm if you want to learn more.