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Gray Foy: Drawings 1941-1975


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About the Author

DON QUAINTANCE is an independent graphic designer based in Houston and an occasional author and editor. He has designed more than two hundred art-related exhibition catalogs and monographs, including retrospectives for Barnett Newman and Arshile Gorky (Philadelphia Museum of Art), Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, and Alberto Burri (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), and Max Ernst (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

LYNN M. HERBERT is an art historian and the former Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. She is noted for exploring the spiritual dimension of art through the PBS television series and its related publication Art21: Art in the Twenty-First Century. She was the founding director of the Houston Center for Photography. ALEXIS ROCKMAN is a contemporary artist who has become well known for monumental paintings that represent fantasias on environmental destruction and genetically modified organisms. His work has been the subject of over fifty solo exhibitions in galleries and museums worldwide, including Manifest Destiny (Brooklyn Museum of Art) and Alexis Rockman: A Fable for Tomorrow (Smithsonian American Art Museum). A compendium of his work, Alexis Rockman, was published in 2005 (Monacelli Press). STEVE MARTIN is a writer, musician, and performer. His books include a collection of comic pieces, a novella, a novel, a memoir, and several children's books. Martin's writing on art includes essays on Eric Fischl and Jackson Pollock's Mural. He recently curated the exhibition The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris. Martin was a friend of Gray Foy's since 1981. GRAY FOY (1922-2012) was known as a great artist and avatar of New York City's literary gilded age. Born in in Dallas, he moved to Los Angeles with his mother at age four. In his youth he moved to New York where he studied art at Columbia, finding success with his unique art while still a student. He became an artist of substantial early reputation, embodying great artistic promise and drawing phantasmagorical scenes like no other artist. With his husband Leo Lerman, his companion for more than half a century, Gray Foy became a fixture of New York City's gracious, aesthetically-attuned literary and art scene of which Truman Capote was perhaps its most visible embodiment. They cultivated refined friendships with the city's foremost cultural luminaries such Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Leonard Bernstein, Paul Bowles, Maria Callas, Mr. Capote, Carol Channing, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Aaron Copland, Marcel Duchamp, Margot Fonteyn, John Gielgud, Martha Graham, Cary Grant, Ana s Nin, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Edith Sitwell, Susan Sontag, and many others. But his engagement in this unique and rarefied social whirl largely eclipsed his art, which this volume brings to the fore once more showcasing an extraordinary assembly of Foy's drawings that had remained unseen for many decades until now.


"A typical pencil drawing by Mr. Foy, on which he might spend as much as a year, teems with massed forms that seem to rear up out of a shared shadowy past: human limbs and torsos, webs of twisted organic shapes that recall tree roots and leaves. The resulting image, built up of hundreds of thousands of tiny black marks, suggests Guernica done by M. C. Escher."--Margalit Fox, New York Times
"A superb craftsman, a young person who will someday be reckoned with in the field of modern art."--New York Herald Tribune
, 1948

"A pencil drawing by Gray Foy, a little-known American artist, is a scrambled, congested, Dali-like composition of body parts, still life, architecture, and landscape made with unbelievable refinement and microscopic detailing."--Ken Johnson, New York Times
"Gray Foy's drawing evokes the richness of living on a coral reef, or the cheerfully haunted rocks that provide a background to some of the finest Persian miniatures."--James Trilling, The Language of Ornament
"Were Gray Foy's extraordinary delicacy unaccompanied by poetic sensitivity to flowers and growing things, these drawings might be no more than astonishing tours de force. Such is not the case. They both amaze and please."--Stuart Preston, New York Times
"Gray Foy was...a serious artist whose supremely detailed and imaginative work recalls both M.C. Escher and Hieronymus Bosch. A new exhibition makes the case that Foy's drawings deserve a place in the canon of early Surrealist work."--ArtNet News
The graphite-on-paper works by the late artist GRAY FOY are magical fantasies. They're a little bit Bosch, a little bit Dal , and all his own glories. On view are the mid-century American artist's early Surrealist works, dated 1941 to 1975, many of which were recently discovered in his estate in drawers and closets.--Wendy Goodman "New York Magazine "

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