Friends and admirers gathered at the Laura Russo Gallery on NW 21st this evening, to celebrate the 100th birthday of the late Louis Bunce (1907 - 1983), one of Portland's favorite artists.
I never met the man, though I must have tuned in his airport mural, a source of controversy in the newspapers around the time I moved to Portland in 1958. It's still there, through all the big changes at PDX.
My impression is people liked his spin on the word "artist" and "painter" in particular. It meant suave, debonair, carefree in some respects, yet very self-disciplined and steeped in the art world and its traditions, not just one's own stuff.
He'd studied hard in New York and Chicago, before returning to Portland during the Great Depression. He was born in Wyoming and Portland was his first real cityscape.
Louie helped our Pacific Rim tribes keep abreast Atlantic Coastal currents, from cubism to jazz to surrealism. He made the art world accessible and fun to be in.
I'm friends with his son Jon, likewise a pioneering artist-musician.