Retired Morris Hardwick Lawyer Robert Calcagno Exhibits Paintings at High
"Paris on Peachtree," which opened at the High Museum in November, is the latest in a long, deep artistic connection between Atlanta and France.
A more intimate side of the relationship was seen a few weeks earlier, when "Paris Welcomes American Artists" was shown at Atelier Z, Madame Christiane Peugeot's Cultural Center, for seven days in September.
The exhibition of 10 artists and sculptors, mostly from Atlanta, was organized by James Sutherland, a cardiologist at the Department of Pediatrics at Emory University and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
Sutherland is also a self-taught artist and friends with a member of the Peugeot family who lives in Atlanta.
One of the painters chosen for the Paris show was Robert J. Calcagno, who was a litigator in Atlanta for 29 years before retiring in 2004, a move that he says transformed his talents from the courtroom to the canvas.
Calcagno, who practiced residential real estate law and finally settled in for a decade at Morris Hardwick Schneider, taught himself to paint and enjoyed quick success in selling his work. He said he has painted more than 700 paintings, and 600 of those works are now in private collections.
He and his wife lived in Buckhead while he practiced law but now split their time between homes in Jasper and Saint-Léon-sur-Vézère in southern France.
He paints in both places, and talked to the Daily Report from France about his love of art.
How did you teach yourself to paint?
I think every good painting requires three important elements: Good composition, good color mixture and good technique. The last two elements require some form of learning or teaching. The first element cannot be taught, but rather is given by God.
Good color mixture and good technique come from the classroom or self-reading and self-studying paintings of the masters. I did the latter. I spent hundreds of hours looking at paintings produced in the past. Going to museums, buying books and going to galleries were means of developing my self-study.
It was by trial and error that I learned to mimic these great works, investing over 10,000 hours of painting.