" I was only eight years old when I became completely in love with art. I think the magic of watching something take form from my own hand was the addictive element. Then as the love developed for my art I became fascinated with music, I practiced my guitar and sang the songs that made me happy. Music and art were all that existed for me. By my early teenage years I discovered girls, wow, they were really wonderful creatures! I never looked back, the desire and love has never faltered and I have spent alifetime pursuing and understanding these three gifts. I have been with some of the most wonderful and famous women on the planet, and I have had the good fortune to achieve success as a singer and then as a fine artist. To pursue the pleasures and emotional rewards of endeavors that feed the heart and achieve success is a life of unexpected joy. The years in other countries and societies, connecting to the peoples of other cultures has been another realm of great satisfaction, and the adventures of sailing around the world has been the frosting on the cake. In my biography I attempt to share all of the adventures and feelings that have been given to me, the gift of this special time on earth, so that perhaps others can abandon some of the shackles of their life, and find some new frontier." - Christian Title
In the spring of 1952, I entered the exhibition hall of the Academie des Beaux Arts where the student's works were being shown. The paintings were generally skillful but usually not very exciting. Occasionally I would find a special work and linger the extra time to evaluate. I wasn't writing critically at that time. I was a student at the Sorbonne, and I was using the opportunity for a school project of my own. I had always loved the impressionist masters, and because of my special interest, I was now impressed with a painting of "The Print Dealers in the Flea Market." The work was somewhat complicated and perhpas not fully realized, but its expressive quality had drawn me to this style of electrically charged light. I noted the artist's name in my book: CHRISTIAN TITLE
Two years later at a group exhibit on the Rue de Seine, I again encountered the work of Christian Title. I remembered the previous work vividly and was surprised by my recall. In my review I praised the paintings, but noted that they were too close in style to Monet and his circle.
Several months later the gallery staged a one-man exhibit by Christian Title. I attended opening night with unusual expectations, for as I reflected on the artist's work, I sensed an acute and sensitive vision that was not shared by his contemporary impressionists. I met Christian at the opening and a lifelong friendship began. The exhibit was a turning point in Christian's career; he had been aided by his popularity as a Paris nightclub singer, and his new success as an artist had given him the confidence to concentrate on his painting.
Last year I was traveling through the United States gathering information for my article "A Perspective of Contemporary American Art." While in Los Angeles I had the opportunity to visit with Christian in Malibu, and preview the paintings that comprise his current exhibit. The paintings were hung in Christian's impressive studio, and presented my obvious choice for contemporary American impressionism at its best.
In this extensive collection of Christian's work, painted over a five-year period, it is gratifying to find a level of quality that is truly rare. When I see the current works, while knowing the full background of the artist, I am able to assemble an overview of the last thirty-five years.
The early impressionist paintings were appealing and well done for an artist in his twenties, but with all the traditional influences. After the one-man exhibit in Paris, the work took on new influences; heavy black lines and darker moods reflected a new passion for Roualt and Soutine. Notable of these works were the "The Red Bottle", 1954 and "The Art Dealer", 1955. There were further changes that took place after Christian spent the summer in London studying with Oskar Kokoschka. The artist returned to Paris with new concepts, bolder colors, and a refreshed enthusiasm.
In 1956 Christian completed his studies in Europe and returned to the United States. The heavy black outline was retained, but the influence of two artists in neighboring studios, Paul Gerchik and Milton Gershgoren, fostered a much more brilliant palette. The work continued to get stronger until 1960 when it resembled the Fauves in color. Examples of this period are "Rae" and "The Red Hammock", 1958
During our long conversations it is apparent that one unusual factor has set Christian apart from other impressionists; he is not interpreting nature as we have traditionally expected of the plein-air painters. Christian explains, "I work in the studio, and my impressionism is of the mind. My scenes do not exist in the sense of what I saw, but rather what was in my memory of an experience or area." This concept is easily understood. When one reflects on a scene, the recalled vision of the mind is "impressionistic." We do not remember in terms of sharp edges and hard lines unless we are recalling a photograph, because our eye is confined in space. What we retain normally is an image recorded from the eye to the brain, influenced strongly by the sum total of our visual experience.
One becomes aware that Christian's paintings are developed with his individual creativity, utilizing observations and imagination. A painting takes on a sense of being familiar. One almost knows the scene, as it evokes a feeling of places we have enjoyed.
Christian's consciousness of the effects of light contributes to the success of his work. "I do not strive to catch that particular moment of light. I create light as I wish it to be, to emphasize something or to establish a mood."
It is the extensive use of atmospheric particle light which allows a painting to change with the light source. Light reinforces form until the intensity reaches a point where light dissolves form. This concept is referred to by some art historians as the "glare esthetic."
The artist works on a scale which corresponds to his individual response to the light, or the scale chosen to fit his mood. At the moment of translating the impact of this mood onto canvas, he is unaware of the scientific aspects of his art, and utilizes the response through a passionate action. I have known many artists who are excellent technicians with a sound understanding of the scientific effects of light; however, I have rarely seen an artist in this category whose work could stimulate an emotional response.
The paintings now reveal a superb level of competence combined with emotional impact. The years that the artists has spent studying and developing his technique have resulted in work that reflects passionate color and vitality. With his artistic success assured, it will be exciting to watch the continued growth and recognition.
1932 - Born in Los Angeles, California
1950 - Enters Art Center school studying Commercial Art
1951 - Studies at Woodbury College. Sends portfolio of drawings and photographs to the Beaux-Arts Academie in Paris
1952 - Travels to Paris, enrolls at the Beaux-Arts Academie and the Sorbonne University. Works in various studios taking sketch & classes and painting with teachers and other artists. Takes classes with Adre L'Hote. Enrolls in the Academie Julian, taking sketch classes in the evenings and paintings instruction form Pierre Jerome.
1953 - Continues classes at the ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Sorbonne University; starts the first series of landscapes in the city. Exhibit paintings at the American Student Center. Becomes a leader and Vice President of the American Student Artists of Paris. Spends the summer in London. Studies with Oskar Kokoschka.
1954 - Continues studies in Paris and works with Herbert Gaillard. Spends hours each day at the Galeries du Jeu de Paume studying the master impressionist painters. Continues to paint outdoors infusing the work with the lessons learned by studying the work of Monet and Pissarro. Exhibits first paintings at the Rene Drouet Gallery. Shows a series of landscapes and figures in the park at the Galerie des Beaux-Arts. Spends the summer sailing a boat back from the border country in Scotland to the Touring Club de France beneath the Alexander the Third bridge. Lives aboard for two years. Starts the river series.
1955 - Graduates the Beaux-Arts Academie and spends most of the time painting at the Academie Julian. Continues at the Sorbonne University. Takes quick sketch classes nightly at the Grand Chomiere Academie. Finishes thesis for Doctorate on the French Impressionists. Spends the summer taking classes at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, then travels to Rome to work with American painter friend, Arthur Hill, at the Bella Institute.
1956 - Sails and travels extensively making sketches and paintings. Visits with Juan Miro in Palma de Mallorca.
1957 - Rents studio at 5444 Hollywood Boulevard. Becomes friends and works with Nicolai Fechin and Rico Lebrun. Works with artists, Paul Gerchik and Milton Gershgoren, at the Hollywood Boulevard studio. Opens DeVille Galleries.
1958 - One man exhibit at the Perreau-Saussine Gallery in Los Angeles; has critical acclaim. Exhibits in group show. Included in the show were works by Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso, and Theodore Rousseau at the Perreau-Saussine Gallery.
1959 - Exhibits paintings at the Hammer Galleries in New York City.
1960 - Has one-man exhibit at the Frederic Hobbs Gallery in San Francisco.
1962 - Exhibits in four man show in San Francisco with Milton Gershgoren, Paul Gerchik, and Addie Newman at the Gildea Gallery. Starts to exhibit the American Impressionist painters at the DeVille Galleries; is influenced by the artists that are exhibited. Shows paintings by Edward Hopper, Guy Pene du Bois, and Reynolds Beal. With the friendship and help of collectors, Martin and Helen Rackin, a major collection of French impressionist paintings are exhibited. Works from the Stanley Kramer collection and others are exhibited with Edith Head hosting the show. Major works by the masters, for the first time, can be taken to the studio and studied.
1963/1985 - Pursues the best of the American impressionist painters; Exhibits consistently the works of Childe, Hassam, Willard Metcalf, Theodore Robinson, Edmund Tarbell, Frank Benson, William Merritt Chase, Cecilia Beaux, and other leaders of the American impressionist movement. During these years painting time is limited because of the demands of an art dealer; but the time is well spent in the study of famous works and the ability to collect the finest examples of the leading artists' works. This intimate relationship with great paintings, without the pressure to sell, was a major factor in the development of an individual impressionist style.
1967 - Exhibits at the Visconti Gallery in Paris. Exhibits at the Rene Drouet Gallery in Paris, and the Kantor Gallery in London.
1978 - Starts painting full-time. Finishes seven year project designing and building home and studio in Malibu, California.
1981 - Works in Paris for the summer. Ships all works back to California. Starts planning for 1988 Los Angeles exhibition.
1985/1986 - Exhibits paintings at the Grand Central Galleries in New York City.
1988 - Continues to live and work in Malibu.
1989 - Exhibits at the Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. Exhibits at the Maxwell Gallery, San Francisco.
1990 - Exhibits at Grand Central Galleries, New York City.
1992 - Exhibits twenty hand pulled serigraphs at Art Expo, New York City.
1994 - New Figurative work exhibited for the first time, DeVille Galleries, Los Angeles.
1995 - Begins to paint almost exclusively in the abstract figurative style.
1996 - Sails from Rhode Island to Trinidad, sketching and painting watercolor of the islands.
1997 - Sails to Venezuela - paints the local scenes.
1998 - Rents a studio and apartment in Paris - continues the abstract figurative work.
1999 - Sails from Venezuela to New Zealand with his wife Joyce, completes a series of drawings while crossing the Pacific Ocean.
2000 - Closes the DeVille Galleries.
2002 - Builds a home and studio overlooking the sea in New Zealand. Sails to New Caledonia and Vanuatu - tropical imagery starts to invade the work.
2003 - Sails to Fiji and the Line Islands - starts to paint the reflection of the native persona.
2004 - Furnishes the completed New Zealand home, and begins in the new studio working from the sketches of the Pacific trip.
2006 - Buys a home in Somis, California.
2007 - Sells the Malibu home, and move to Somis, California.