- by Barney Davey
Behrens did have the good fortune to peak just in what many will remember as the golden years of the art print business.
Capri Coast – Howard Behrens
Howard Behrens ranks among the most successful and accomplished of a generation of artists whose work drove the phenomenal growth of the art print market in the late 20th Century. Last year, a news item announced his last gallery show. Like Terry Redlin, another giant of the print market who retired around the same time, he's reached a milestone in his career. One I'm remiss in waiting until now to cover.
While Redlin has retired, Behrens has simply announced he has done his last gallery show. After a remarkable professional art career spanning 25 years, at age 75, who can second guess his decision?
The Path to Professional Painter Is Well Trodden Through Graphics Arts Careers
Like so many of his contemporaries, he worked successfully at another career in graphic design until well into mid-life before turning to full-time as a career artist. According to his biography, he worked with many styles and techniques, but ultimately settled on the palette knife. The results he achieved were nothing short of stunning. His bold, colorful, compelling and romantic art was perfectly suited for modern serigraphy. A medium that in the popularity of the giclee revolution still represents the best and highest end of the commercial fine art print market.
To view an original Behrens or one of his serigraphs is like taking a mini-vacation to a beautiful exotic place. The kind of place most can only dream about going. The posters and open edition prints, while still gorgeous, lack some of the visual impact of his originals and serigraphs. Given the discrepancy in prices and printing methods, this is to be expected.
Success at Every Price Point
Behrens' art has sold well throughout his career at virtually every price point. One can purchase affordable posters from dealers and online at Art.com and other sites. His originals and serigraphs, continue to sell well on the secondary market at Art Brokerage and other dealers. And, it also can be found in the giclee format as well in galleries and online.
Given Behrens' talent, travels and success, he is a model for what many artists would like to do with their careers. For those reading this who despair of enjoying similar success, keep in mind it was not until he reached 50 years of age before he turned to painting full time.
Behrens Helped Define and Make the Print Market in His Era
Behrens did have the good fortune to peak just in what many will remember as the golden years of the art print business. That was before the advent of modern print-on-demand technology that allowed the successful development of the fine art digital print technique that came to be known as giclees. Looking back on his career, one could say rather than riding the wave of popularity of the fine art print market, as epitomized by the tremendously successful ArtExpo New York shows of the late '80s and 1990s, that the interest in his work helped define and drive the market.
As with every successful artist, he has spawned legions of other artists seeking to tap into the same look and style he popularized. While some have achieved their own success, there will always only be one Howard Behrens. We salute him for his magnificent contributions and wish him well for the future.