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“I was gobsmacked.”
That’s how Pierce Brosnan describes the feeling of watching his original painting of Bob Dylan fetch $1.4 million during the auction at amfAR’s 25th annual Cinema Against AIDS event in Cannes earlier this summer. The buyer? Ukranian billionaire Marina Acton. “My wife [Keely Shaye Smith] and I enjoyed the night — it was a magical night and a great evening for a worthy cause.”
The stars may soon align for another enchanted event because Brosnan tells THR that he and Smith are planning an exhibition in Paris.
“We love the city,” Brosnan tells THR. “It’s the epicenter of the art world and has been for many years.” Smith adds with a smile that “Paris is always a good idea,” with her husband finishing her sentence. “It’s a bold one. It definitely takes some courage to do it, but I reckon if I can go out and sing in Mamma Mia!, I can go show a few paintings, have a few cocktails and give it a shot.”
Brosnan, who has been painting since 1987, has 153 paintings in his oeuvre, and the plan is to “whittle that down to 20 to 30 pieces and make a buck.” Smith is curating the show, and while it was originally planned for this fall, the duo now expects to launch it in the early part of 2019.
As for his chances, art advisor Lisa Schiff of Schiff Fine Art tells THR: “The achievement of commercial success for Brosnan the painter is likely as an extension of his many film accomplishments. I believe there are many art worlds and there is room for all of them. There are film artists working as visual artists and vice versa. The cult of the personality afforded the former is powerful and many buyers may want to own a physical manifestation of this in the form of that actors painting, for example.”
Art insider Annie Wharton of Annie Wharton Art Consulting has a different opinion, however.
“Any artist who wants a legitimate career in art needs practice, just like actors or singers need to hone their craft. I am hired to be very discerning, and I personally do not think this work is ready for the critical L.A. art world. With practice, guidance, and time his art could become relevant. With celebrity artwork, many mistakenly conflate artistic genius with the genius’ hobby, such is the case with the brilliant musical work of David Bowie and his mediocre paintings.”
A version of this story first appeared in the July 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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