I did exactly that last week. I went to the local arts center as soon as I learned that the exhibit had been hanged. I could not wait for the next day when Jean Mollendorf’s retrospective art show officially opened. I was not disappointed with his dazzling show. His pieces evoke strange emotions and wonder. “Jean’s work is a new approach to post-impressionist abstraction that leans away from current European attempts and delivers a fresh new look at what’s there.” He uses bold colors and brushstrokes to contain high energy in his figurative art, portraits, abstracts, cityscapes, landscapes, etc.
Jean is a very shy man, who moved several years ago from Chicago to the La Crosse area. Jean does not talk very much about himself or his art. He allows viewers’ imaginations to interpret and discover a story hidden on his canvases. And believe me, a lot of unexpected stories are captured on Jean’s canvases.
According to Jean, he has been painting since he was two years old. Jean, who is now in his early seventies, attended the Art Institute of Chicago and the American Academy of Art. His painting has evolved from pre-planned, realistic work to more spontaneous, post-impressionist abstraction. He claims: “painting and sculpture are my life blood, a God given gift which I must respect.”
Have you ever seen Jean’s paintings or met him? If you have not, you should plan a trip to La Crosse and meet him during his reception at the Pump House on April 17, from 5-7 p.m.