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The Bob Diven Once-in-a-Lifetime Art Auction Closed (#13677026)

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Portrait of Madame X - Bob Diven Original

  Lot # BD200
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Portrait of Madame X - Bob Diven Original

  • Medium: Oil On Canvas
  • Date: 2004

A recreation of John Singer Sargent’s most famous portrait, showing the original version that he exhibited at the Salon in Paris, with the dress strap fallen down Madame Gautreau's shoulder.  This painting was created by Bob for his one-man show "John Singer Sargent, Painting Madame X", Directed by Mark Medoff, which toured across the country.  Bob created the painting in consultation with the curator for the original which hangs in The Metropolitan Museum in New York City.


 When I was writing my one man show "John Singer, Sargent, Paintung Madame X", I knew that the centerpiece would have to be this painting, and I would have to create it. I painted it during the year I had my office/studio in a hanger at the airport.

I’d studied the history of the painting, and tried to create it in the way that Sargent did, even to the point of beginning with the original ochre background (that he later painted over). It was one of those rare experiences that allowed me to see through someone else’s eyes, and understand exactly why he wanted to paint Madame Gautreau.

The play opened with this painting on stage, but turned away from the audience. At the end of the play, Sergeant finally turns it around and reveals it after talking about her through the whole show.  It was always a wonderful moment in every performance.

As Shown, There Is Some Craquelure In The Painting

83 X 43 inches

About the Artist:

New Mexico artist Bob Diven came to Las Cruces at the age of 5.  His father was a World War 2 veteran and former big-band singer from Pennsylvania who became a high school English teacher at Mayfield High School the year it opened. Bob's mother was a former collegiate champion golfer from Illinois who had attended a summer camp in New Mexico in the 1930s and played in a golf tournament in Las Cruces in 1941.  Bob grew up exploring the desert with his four older brothers, Bill, Chuck, Ben, and Jack.

Bob graduated from Las Cruces High School, and after a year of college at NMSU joined the US Coast Guard and was stationed in the Bay Area of California.  It was there, while awaiting his discharge, that he met Chet, a former professional commercial artist, who was able to evaluate Bob's drawing and sculpting skills and offer guidance in the selection of a small art school in Denver, Colorado, that specialized in figure drawing and anatomy.

Bob refers to his time at The Rocky Mountain School of Art (now The Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design) as "The most revolutionary educational experience" of his life.   He worked from the live model every day, learning anatomy and the depiction of light and shadow in a traditional way.

After art school, Bob began to work as an illustrator and found work as a commercial artist in Albuquerque, working in television, advertising, and publishing.  During a short stint volunteering in The Netherlands, he was exposed to the work of Van Gogh and came back to Las Cruces, bought a paint box and some oil paints, and set out to paint landscapes like the Impressionists.  At this time, paintings finally began to make sense to him.

Over the years Bob expanded his skills as he explored the many natural-born talents he inherited.  His paintings continued to improve, but he also took on theatrical scenery design, writing, musical composition, playwriting, sculpture, and editorial cartooning.

He won top prizes at the first Denver Street Art Festival and the top award at El Paso's Chalk the Block.  His editorial cartoons and writing have won state and national awards, and his paintings have been shown in local, regional, and national juried exhibitions and are included in permanent collections.  The Doña Ana Arts Council gave Bob their Community Arts Award, and Artforms named him Community Artist of the Year.  He has taught classes and workshops, been an artist in residence in the Las Cruces Public Schools and with The Downtown Las Cruces Partnership.

Bob has built his life around his art, making room for whatever inspirations come his way.  His hobby is reviving old typewriters.

Lot # BD200
System ID # 13938422
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