Holland The Artist of Literary Giants
Stephen Holland Paints Ernest Hemingway
To know the art of Stephen Holland is to know the many dimensions of the heroic "tough guy". Fictional and real, the list of these figures of strength he's painted could fill the largest of museums. That's what makes it all the more amazing that perhaps one of the toughest of his subjects to be painted to date, is not a champ in the ring, a super hero on the court, or daredevil with nerves of steel, but a man of words.
He was a decorated hero in the Great War, ran with the bulls in Spain, a champion deep sea fisherman in Cuba, a front-line war reporter in WWII and a white hunter in Africa. And in-between these never ending full speed journeys into danger, he wrote about them in the very books that brought him both the Pulitzer and the Nobel Prize. Ernest Hemingway lived the kind of fear-be-damned life that most writers would not dare to offer their own characters of fiction.
With such a perfect subject Stephen Holland was clearly inspired to create an amazing representation that evokes a pure visceral experience of a personality that was bigger then the body that held it, and a life far larger than the limits of it's own mortality. But in one painting, Holland has somehow captured Hemingway. You can just picture him holding court with his fishing buddies at Sloppy Joe's on Key West, mesmerizing them with his stories of war, love, triumphs and loss.
Danny (call me Papa) Stern
I only wish I could have shared this with Hemingway. He had a profound love of art. And he was known to seek out museums wherever his travels took him through his entire life.
This dated back to early in his life, when he first traveled to Paris. There, his good friend and mentor, Gertrude Stein introduced him to the most famous painters of the time and encouraged him to visit the museums of Paris. In time he would spend all of his day studying the great masters at the Louvre, and then applying it to his developing writing style by night, as he sat in his favorite Parisian cafes. <
He told his friends, that he wanted to write with the simple pure truth that he saw in these paintings. And that his life goal was to write one such perfect sentence.
I think he would have enjoyed seeing what one painter saw in him. - Stephen Holland