Robert Solotaire passed away a year ago this month at a very youthful 78 years of age. Bob was a downtown kind of guy, a ubiquitous presence on the streets of Portland, particularly up in the West End where he ran a boarding house, wrote for the neighborhood newspaper, and painted the lively urban scenes for which he is well-known.
On the first anniversary of his death, Gleason Fine Art has mounted a memorial exhibition (through November 14) in its Portland gallery. For those who sorely miss Bob, the Gleason show is an opportunity to reconnect and reflect. For those who didn’t know him and his work, it’s an excellent chance to get to see a body of his supremely humanistic art – scenes of everyday life infused with the artist?s own peculiar sense of humor.
Bob Solotaire was born in 1930 in New York City, where his father ran a ticket agency on Times Square. That may account for the lightly theatrical quality of his view of the world. As a young man, he studied at Bard College, but his most important and enduring influence were the drawing classes he took at the Art Students League with German