I did not know, until encountering this article in The Guardian, that actor Robert De Niro’s father was a professional painter.
Born in Syracuse, New York, into an Irish-Italian household, De Niro Sr was a child prodigy. In 1933, aged 11, he started taking classes at the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts, which even gave him his own room in which to work. Later, his admirers included the art patron Peggy Guggenheim. His debut solo exhibition, when he was 23, inspired leading critic Clement Greenberg to write: “Guggenheim has discovered another important young abstract painter.”
(Dalya Alberge, “Robert De Niro on his father’s journals: ‘It was sad for me to read. He had his demons,’” theguardian.com, 9-29-19)
The hook for this article is the famous son’s discomfort at his father’s struggles over sexual orientation as expressed in journals. More interesting will be a straight-ahead appreciation of a good painter’s art that one hopes will come.
(c) 2019 JMN