Main beach, bathers, circa 1960s signed 'Kuntz' (lower left) and inscribed 'Laguna Beach' (on the stretcher bar) oil on canvas 18 1/4 x 24in overall: 21 x 27in
Kuntz portrays an animated, fun summer day at the beach with bathers casually placed on the warm hot sandin all posesreading, drying off from the waters, and a cropped person lying on a towel with only his legs shown. Kuntz cleverly divides his painting into three horizontal zones, the expanse of sand with sun seekers in the foreground, and the bright blue water in the mid-distance, and the clear sky above. The artist employs this compositional device to sharpen our focus on the activity taking place in the foreground. The subtlety of his colors manifests the warmth of the sand and the brightness of a summer day at the beach.
According to the artist's daughter, Mary Kuntz (b. 1951): "I guess you could say that the two figures in the upper right bear some vague resemblance to my mom "Mocky "(dark glasses) and me. However, my father was not in the habit of painting portraits of people unless he deliberately did so and title them accordingly. He told me he used figures more for color and form and that is why the faces are often very blurry, anonymous. The figure in the ubiquitous white tennis hat and sometimes dark glasses in his beach and tennis paintings could be said to represent the artist/observer, but still not portraits of Roger Kuntz."1
1. Mary Kuntz to author. The author expresses her gratitude to Susan M. Anderson, who wrote the biography on Roger Kuntz and introduced me to Kuntz's daughter.
We are grateful to Patricia Trenton, Ph. D. for her assistance with this essay.
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California and Western Paintings