"I have always felt that as an artist it was my job to capture a moment in time and to hold it. I want to touch other people with my paintings, I want to reach the inner self and to respect this delicate area which defines each human being."
Vincent Price talks about Robert Watson
Robert Watson (1923 - 2004) was born in Martinez, California in a big house overlooking the bay, and with him was born the subject of all his paintings - the loneliness of man in the mysterious world. California provided this subject with a stage of vast space on which to grow and evolve.
It wasn't until after High School, odd jobs, a sojourn in the Army and study at Universities of California and Wisconsin that Watson's lonely man, mysterious world became concrete through reality of paint on canvas. This occurred between 1943 and 1947 when he went to New York and later spent eight weeks studying with Frederic Taubes in Wisconsin. Watson's career, a highly successful one, began with his first one-man show in 1947 at Gump's and in 1950 in the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, both in San Francisco.
Watson's mysterious world shows ancient buildings, vast in scale and placed on plateaus that merge with the sky. His highly refined technique merges two separate colors with a tender brush to create an effect of blurred vision. Yet the finish is silky smooth - the fog or the sky and the dust of the desert are one, as though painted with cotton.
In every painting Watson repeated the motif of solitary figures with their backs to the viewer. Here, the desolation of the scene and the curious mood of tranquility and despair combined are observed with stoic silence by these solitary watchers who seem to have lived long and seen all. They represent not only Robert Watson's quest but ours as well, for we too are lonely men in the mysterious world.