Our cover this month, Anton Refregier’s “Musicians” (72 in. by 473/4 in.), sold for $1,375 at Swann Auction Galleries’ American Art sale in New York on June 4, 2015. Though the inspiration for this piece isn’t readily known, the painting seemingly conveys the tranquility of Refregier’s Woodstock, N.Y. lifestyle during the 1960s.
The Russian-born artist attributes the fulfillment of his desire to be a muralist to the Works Progress Administration, an agency that provided jobs and income to the unemployed during the Great Depression, assigning him to work on numerous government-sponsored projects. Refregier’s murals and paintings stayed true to his political values, often depicting common people persevering and hard at work. His most controversial commission however, a 27-panel mural detailing the history of California, located at the Rincon Post Office in San Francisco, strays from that theme, instead choosing to portray the mistakes of the past, such as the anti-Chinese Sand Lot riots, as an abstract view of history. Despite his flat and one-dimensional style, Refregier’s work conveys more depth than meets the eye, as he focuses on iconography and the use of color to elicit a reaction from the viewer.
Refregier, albeit most prominently known for his murals, was a well-rounded man, with roles as an artist, activist, writer, judge and teacher, all under his belt. As any good advisor knows, the ability to wear different hats for different roles is crucial in our ever-evolving modern society. This ability is especially true for those who advise family offices, as can be seen by the articles in this month’s High-Net-Worth Families & Family Offices Committee Report.