Richard Segalman, 87 of Woodstock died Tuesday July 6,, 2021 at the Westchester Medical Center. He was born March 13, 1934 in Coney Island.
A memorial service for Richard will be held at 1 pm, Sunday, August 1, 2021, in Studio One, where he worked, at the Woodstock School of Art, 2470 NY-212, Woodstock, NY 12498. You may share a special memory or condolence on Richard's Tribute Wall at gormleyfuneralhome.com Memorial contributions may be made to the woodstockschoolofart.org Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the E. B. Gormley Funeral Home 87 Main St. Phoenicia.
To Richard Segalman painting was like breathing. Across his remarkable sixdecade
career, his artwork was placed in over 40 permanent collections in museums,
including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Hirshhorn Museum in
Washington, DC, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
“My first influence was being surrounded by hats, color and fabric,” he once
wrote. “My mother was a milliner. Being in this atmosphere, began my life in art. I saw
the work of Degas, Sargent and Sorolla and it was like coming home.”
Segalman died on July 6, 2021, at age 87, of complications from pancreatic
cancer. He lived in Woodstock, NY, and Greenwich Village. Until age 85, he had never
been in a hospital.
Working in oil, watercolor, pastel and later, monotype, he is best known for
capturing the light and beauty of women, clothed in luminous dresses, in the lofts and
on the rooftops and stoops of Manhattan, and on the beaches of Naples, Florida, and
Coney Island. One of Segalman’s lifelong muses, dear friend and gallerist, Alice
Hoffman, said, “Every great painter is a a good draftsman. Richard was an exquisite
draftsman. He loved to draw. That, and the light in them really gave his paintings their
structure and strength.”
Richard was born in Coney Island, on March 13, 1934, the son of Jeanette
Lehman and Louis Freschel. When he and his older brother Ira were still young boys,
their father died, their mother struggled, and the boys were sent to live with a series of
relatives, and often separated. Their mother remarried when Richard was an
adolescent. Reuben Segalman adopted her sons and the family moved to Manhattan.
Much of Richard’s teenage years were spent walking the Coney Island beach and city
streets, riding the subways, alone, doing what he would do most of his life: watching
people, observing everything, and always drawing. “I wanted to be an artist since I can
remember. I loved drawing,” he said. “It’s the only thing that ever felt right.”
In the 1950s Segalman graduated from the Parsons School of Design, joined the
Army, was honorably discharged after service in Germany, and began his lifelong visits
to Naples, Florida, where his aunt and uncle had opened The Anchor Bar, which became
a fixture of the community. The very first showing of Richard’s work, charcoal drawings,
was in that bar; they sold for $5. Soon after, Rosemary Robinson hosted his first formal
show in her Naples gallery. Segalman’s only job ever — apart from his art — was a brief
stint as file clerk at the Ford Foundation.
Beginning in the 1960s Segalman’s watercolors and oils were shown by such
prominent New York galleries as: the Davis Gallery, the Graham Gallery, Kornbluth
Gallery (Fairlawn, NJ) and Katarina Rich Perlow Gallery; as well as The Meyer-Munson
Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, and Harmon-Meek Gallery in Naples, Fl. Beginning in 2006, the
Marlborough Gallery in New York exhibited his monotypes.
“Richard could do watercolors with his eyes closed — better than [John Singer]
Sargent,” his friend and fellow painter, Kate McGloughlin, said. “But monotypes reignited
his passion.” Monotypes involve painting on plexiglass or metal plate, then using an
etching press to transfer the image to paper. The unpredictable, accident-prone, one-off
nature of the monotype intrigued Richard. “It requires more spontaneity, and represents
a new loss of control,” he told McGloughlin: “a loss that feels more connected with the
limitlessness of the elements.”
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