Southwestern Light Exhibit Opens Friday, February 12!
From the Director
One of the many pleasures of my work with the Saint Vincent Gallery is the unexpected discovery. That might be a painting returned to Saint Vincent from a foundation parish, a collection of drawings by monastic art students of the 1880s, or work by a previously unknown artist.
Rev. Cyprian G. Constantine, O.S.B., and I have been colleagues and friends for many years, but I hadn’t known until a few months ago that his father, John G. Constantine, was an extremely accomplished artist. We had been chatting about a change in the Gallery schedule when he mentioned that his father, an engineer by vocation and artist by avocation, had worked extensively in oils, depicting the beauty of the landscape near their Colorado home and beyond.
I’m often a bit skeptical when someone mentions a talented relative, but when Fr. Cyprian showed me photos of his father’s work, I was immediately entranced. The works convey light and freshness with bold, at times almost abstract, shapes and vibrant color. A professional engineer and meticulous artist, Mr. Constantine also designed and built several of the frames himself so they would become an extension of the painting, expanding the depth of the work beyond the actual image.
Despite urgings from his family and friends, John G. Constantine always declined to show his work publically, saying that he painted strictly for his own enjoyment. It is therefore a privilege to present this first public exhibition of the collected work of John G. Constantine, an unexpected and most welcome addition to the Saint Vincent Gallery calendar.
Please enjoy the show!
Ann S. Holmes
About the Artist
John G. Constantine was born on September 22, 1910, in Netcong, New Jersey, to George John and Mary Oria (Harrington) Constantine. The family moved to Colorado in 1916, where the elder Mr. Constantine ran a popular candy store in Boulder, the “Palace of Sweets.” John and his brother Augustus both worked in the family store after school and on weekends.
John attended Mapleton Elementary and Casey Junior High Schools. He graduated from the State Preparatory School (now Boulder High School) in 1930.
Mr. Constantine continued his education at the University of Colorado at Boulder, graduating in 1937 with a BS degree in Architectural Engineering. During his time at the university, Mr. Constantine also studied art, oil painting, and sculpture with Dorothy Eisenbach, Frederick Trucksess, and Muriel Sibell Wolle, chair of the Fine Arts Department at the university. As a junior at the university, under the tutelage of Dorothy Eisenbach, his linoleum block print, “All Over Pattern,” won Final Third Award in student exhibitions in The Western Artist magazine in 1936: “The clever handling and matching of the pattern of steel girders employed in this pattern contribute to making a most pleasing and well put together design.” The original print is part of the current exhibition.
Mr. Constantine worked at Stearns-Roger Corporation in Denver, Colorado, as Field Engineer, Purchasing Engineer, and Chief Purchasing Engineer from 1944 to his retirement in 1975. He was a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado and a past president of the Denver Chapter of the National Association of Purchasing Management. He married Marian Willis in 1946, and their son, George, now Fr. Cyprian Constantine, O.S.B., was born in 1949. Mr. Constantine passed away in Boulder in 1993.
Several of Mr. Constantine’s oils were painted in the early years as a field engineer on location in southwestern Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. In retirement, he continued with his hobby of oil painting, depicting scenes from the southwest, mining towns, and ghost towns. His style shows the influence of Muriel Sibell Wolle in lighting, color, and brush stroke techniques.
A modest artist, Mr. Constantine declined numerous requests during his lifetime to exhibit his artwork. The Saint Vincent Gallery is honored to present the first exhibition of his collected work.
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