The largest oil painting in The Michael Aaron Gallagher Fine Art Collection is by French artist Christian Ehlinger. Born in 1931, Christian is the son of famed artist Maurice Ehlinger (1896-1981), whose numerous works were recently on display at the Musée Pierre-Noël de Saint-Dié-des-Vosges and the Musée Baron-Martin in France.
While researching a painting by Maurice, Michael discovered that his son Christian had not only authored the definitive catalogue raisonné of his father’s paintings (titled Beauté et Vérité) but he was also a respected artist himself. According to Gérard Stehlin, who co-authored the catalogue raisonné along with Christian, the artist once received the Gold Medal from La Société des Artistes Français.
Where Maurice is celebrated for his ability to depict realistic expressions and lifelike fleshtones on canvas, Christian excels in a more modernist approach.
Imported to the United States from Europe, the first oil painting by Christian Ehlinger acquired for the collection was a massive painting of a nude concubine, entitled “La Sultane.” In 1999, it was displayed at the prestigious Salon in Paris. With its sybolism and uniquely modern style, it is both intriguing and mysterious. It is also currently the largest painting in the entire collection, measuring 64” x 51”.
The second work by Christian featured in the collection is a cityscape. Painted in a similar style to another one of his Parisian works, which depicts the Eiffel Tower and the Flame of Liberty (an unofficial memorial to Princess Diana), Christian’s original style brings a fresh perspective to often pictured subjects and scenery.
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