Nicolas Carone is known as a New York School painter whose

figurative style is based on abstract principles. His sensitive

drawings are especially appreciated. But few know him as a sculptor,

so it comes as a surprise that during the last few decades he has

produced an exceptional body of sculpture. Doubly surprising is the

fact that the work is not based on the body which occupied him

throughout his life. Rather these are carved stone heads that resonate

a strange sense of the archaic and of antiquity. This is not to imply

that they have anything in common with ancient sculpture nor even with

the art of the Etruscans, whose ancestors inhabited the area where

Carone has his remote studio in the Umbrian countryside.

  Carone has always been secretive and selective about these works.

You had to ask to see them.  Among the students and teachers at the

school he founded at Montecastello del Vibio and in the graduate

program of American University where I was teaching in Corciano, a

nearby hillside town, Carone was something of a legend. Word got out

that Nick was working on something new and strange. Something you had

never seen before. So I went up to the studio in Doglio, where Carone

was spending the season.  And there I saw these incredible stone heads

that were unlike anything I had seen before. True, they were

related to various types of archaic, early Christian and Romanesque

sculpture in their cut to the bone simplification and bold, stylized

anti-naturalistic forms. Each was different and seemed to communicate

some other message that you could not quite get a handle on and yet

you felt it was some form of ancient wisdom. Many spoke of suffering

in their expressionistic distortions.

    When I read that Carone was interested in Gurdieff, the

sculptures made sense to me. These were the sages—the “remarkable

men”, the wise men one had to meet on the path of life in order to

gain wisdom. A friend of the legendary mystic John Graham whose late

works are mysteriously magical portraits, Carone has created a group

of imaginary portraits that offer a similar sense of otherworldliness

that is fascinating and inspiring.


--Barbara Rose


© Estate of Nicolas Carone 2012 (except in case of previous copyright)