Jersey City, NJ
Known primarily as an actor, Anthony Quinn was also an accomplished visual artist. Over the course of his long life he produced an extensive oeuvre of paintings, drawings and sculptures. At the same time, Quinn was a voracious and obsessive collector, amassing a personal collection of more than 3,000 objects that included art works, rare books, antiques, African masks, decorative eggs and an array of found objects such as rocks and fragments of coral.
The T’ang Horse: Anthony Quinn brings together a representative sampling of Quinn’s own art works, juxtaposing them with pieces from his collection. Quinn’s art and his collecting were inextricably entwined, and both were nourished and influenced by his constant travels as an international film star. Taken together, the objects in the exhibition trace the intersection between Quinn’s life, art and film career, presenting a portrait of a prodigiously talented and endlessly driven man who, in the words of the scholar Jay Parini, was “an actor and artist who never ceased to create compelling work on whatever canvas he chose.”
The exhibition takes its name from Quinn’s first artwork acquisition, as a teenager: an antique Chinese ceramic horse sculpture, which he paid for in installments of ten or twenty cents while working as a janitor and taking acting classes. Quinn kept the the precious object in his possession throughout his long and storied life. Today, it symbolizes his lifelong commitment to art, and to the arts. As Quinn himself said about his ferocious and inextinguishable need to create: “I have a need to say I was here.”
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website