Alan Feltus painted surrealistic compositions while a student at Cooper Union in New York. At Yale, where he completed his M.F.A. degree, he found himself at stylistic odds with his Abstract Expressionist teachers Lester Johnson and Jack Tworkov. A 1970 Prix de Rome proved the turning point in Feltus’s career. Apart from having time to work as he pleased, in Rome he studied classical Greek sculpture and early Renaissance art firsthand, and began figurative paintings in which he sought the organization and structural solidity he admired in Giotto, Piero della Francesca, and Paolo Uccello. Feltus paints the female figure in what appear to be carefully posed arrangements, yet he is an intuitive artist who works without models or preconceived compositional ideas. He seeks silence in his work and avoids specific meanings, believing that paintings “which are difficult or seemingly impossible to fully comprehend” are most fascinating.
Virginia M. Mecklenburg Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press for the National Museum of American Art, 1987)