April 3, 2019 – Key West, FL Artist Richard “Dick” Matson and his lesser-known works celebrated in upcoming exhibit at Custom House Museum

Key West Art & Historical Society celebrates the work of painter Richard Peter Matson in “You Don’t Know Dick: The Lesser Known Works of Richard Peter Matson,”which opens with a special reception on Friday, April 19 from 6:00pm -7:30pm in the Bryan Gallery at the Custom House Museum, 281 Front Street. The exhibit will reveal a collection of his lesser-known works selected by the artist who has lived and worked in Key West for over 40 years.

“People who know Dick are accustomed to seeing him plein air painting, spotlighting the architecture and flora of Key West,” says Society Curator Cori Convertito, Ph.D. “Dick’s body of work is much greater than that, and I believe the contents of the exhibit will truly surprise museum visitors.”

Educated at The Cooper Union Art School in New York City, followed by graduate studies at Yale University’s School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut, the Brooklyn New York native went on to work in advertising, with painting as an avocation.

“I painted everything; I was mad for painting,” he says.  “The holy ghost was there guiding my hand.”

Inspired by the island’s color and light, his visit to Key West in 1975 was “love at first sight.” With his masterful handling of paint, color, and imagery, and trademark tropical light, saturated colors, and mysterious shadows, the plein-air painter eventually became one of Key West’s most prominent artists.

But the work in this upcoming exhibit, rather than a celebration of the island’s flora and fauna as revealed in Key West Art & Historical Society’s previous exhibit of his work “Key West: The Sea, The Sky, The City,” examines creations that have emerged from other eras of his life as an artist.

“It seems only right that with all of the things that I’ve inherited, got back, or kept, that I should have a show of what I’ve been doing besides plein-air painting,” he says

Works include painted portraits from the 1970s and 1980s, photograph portraits taken as a Yale University graduate student, series of greeting cards from his very successful greeting card business “Astrological Occassions,” projects created during his advertising executive days in New York City including mugs and album covers for Columbia Records, hand-blown and decorated Christmas eggs, and paintings of non-Key West subjects such as Fire Island and the Grand Tetons, many of them works collected by his closest friend, who passed last year and insured they were returned to Dick.

“Even his admirers will have to admit that they ‘don’t know Dick’ as well as they thought,” says Convertito.

“You Don’t Know Dick: The Lesser Known Works of Richard Peter Matson” will run through July 7. For more information call Cori Convertito, Ph.D., at 305-295-6616 x112, email her at cconvertitofarrar@kwahs.org, or visitkwahs.org.  Your Museums.  Your Community.  It Takes an Island. 

IMAGE: ‘Butch’, a painting that will be featured in Dick Matson’s upcoming exhibit at the Custom House Museum, was created in 1987, and is in the artist’s private collection.