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Golden Dreams of Old Vienna: James Kroner at the Karin Clarke Gallery

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By permission of the gallery.
"Along the Canal" by James Kroner. Oil. At the Karin Clarke Gallery

This is Sandy Brown Jensen, and you’re listening to Viz City, KLCC’s arts review program. Ready to drench your eyes in the old gold of a Viennese palazzo reflecting sunset light into a brilliant canal? Absolutely, yes! Take me there!

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By permission of the gallery
"Late Afternoon (NYC)" Oil by James Kroner

The Karin Clarke Gallery in downtown Eugene has a rich exhibit of oil paintings by James Kroner. Karin Clarke and her mother Margaret Coe both took painting lessons with Kroner in Italy.

Kroner is what is called a contemporary realist and paints using the alla prima technique, which means layers of wet paint applied over previous layers of wet paint. In Kroner’s hands, the effect is of letting the viewer walk straight into his sunlit or evening scenes.

By permission of the gallery.
"A Ship in Night. Oil by James Kroner.

“Ship in the Night” is a three masted cargo ship from the 1880s in the foreground, backlit by the nighttime glow of San Francisco. Then in the upper right is clearly Coit Tower, a prominent city landmark.

James Kroner was present for First Friday, so I took advantage of the moment and asked him to talk about my favorite painting, “Along the Canal,” the one of a palazzo reflected in a canal. He drew his thumbnail along the sharp division between the palazzo walls and the canal.

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By permission of the gallery.
"Along the Canal" by James Kroner. Oil. At the Karin Clarke Gallery

He said, “This long line tells the story. The hard edge escorts the eye from the left into the scene where it takes intriguing diversions around arched doorways. The hard edge tells you an interesting story of an old building reflected in its old companion, the canal. The lines higher up and lower down are soft, lost or fugitive lines.”

As two or three of us were watching Kroner’s thumb trace the story of the line across the painting, we were joined by another couple, who, it turned out, had just purchased the piece. The gentleman said, “I saw this guy actually touching the painting, and I figured he had to be the painter–no one else would dare!”

Please take time to step off the street into the Karin Clarke Gallery at 760 Willamette to see this storied show.

This is Sandy Brown Jensen for KLCC.

"Somewhere Near Leavenworth" Oil by James Kroner