Presenting the history of American Art as seen through the eyes of Provincetown

Selina Trieff (1934 - 2015)



Selina Trieff has been with Berta Walker Gallery since it opened and, additionally, exhibited with Walker at Graham Modern Galleries for five years in New York. Trieff has been painting in Provincetown since her student days with Hans Hofmann.

Over the centuries, great painters have succeeded through portraiture in reflecting more than a particular face, but rather the face of the human condition. In the tradition of Watteau and Velasquez' clowns (and Shakespeare's fool in King Lear), Selina Trieff's paintings of animal and human faces belie a profound understanding of what remains true for humans over time in a manner that is both whimsical and mysterious.

Called "an American original" by New York Times art critic John Russell, Trieff's somewhat autobiographical classical gold-leaf and oil portraits of human figures read paradoxically like characters on a modern stage wherein the artist, the painted archetypical figures ("neither male nor female...(but rather) the face of the soul") and the viewer, are engaged in a riveting dialogue. For Trieff, her animal subjects (pigs, chickens, sheep, goats, her dog Louie) are both "hilariously funny and at the same time very sad, and reflect symbolically the human condition, "like my dog Louie, my alter ego. Re-creating the spirit of animals...has allowed for a kind of explosion of paint," she adds. Trieff's exquisite drawing ability shines through in these fantastic portraits. Whether of human or animal, Trieff's portraits are allegories for our time, or any other. Said art historian and art critic Eileen Kennedy: "If Shakespeare had had a sister, she would probably have been Selina Trieff."

The one-hour documentary about Henry and Trieff:Their Lives in Art: Robert Henry and Selina Trieff (will open in a new window), is the story of the life and work of two painters whose nearly 50 years of married life has been devoted to the making of art.