Within the walls of Nonpareil, we have married epicurean cuisine with an eclectic gallery featuring original artwork from established artists, represented in museum collections throughout the world, and acclaimed, emerging and outsider artisans. We believe the experience of being surrounded by exceptional, divergent art fits hand in glove with enjoying a relaxed homespun meal. The novel decor fosters reflection, inspiration, imagination and discussion. We hope you agree, and enjoy the experience as much as we do.
The art currently hanging on the walls of the Gallery in the restaurant are featured and described herein; feel free to browse on our website, and visit us to experience the art firsthand.
A majority of the art presented in the Nonpareil Gallery is simply for the enjoyment of our customers and is not for sale. However, the Gallery also strives to support the local art community; to that end, we regularly feature the original works of local artisans, most of whom live or work in Belvidere and the surrounding environs of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, up and down the Delaware River corridor.
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“Her” was painted by a New York City artist and bought from the artist himself at a Hoboken Art Fair years ago – he had just finished the work the day prior to the Street Festival and the oil had still not set. It was modeled after a woman well known to the artist – when asked, he refused to provide the back-story for her look of despair.
“Him”: The oil in grays, black and white of a bald, seated man, head in hands, across from “Her” is actually not called “Him”; it is unnamed. It was painted in a realism fashion by an artist in Havana, Cuba, and sold at a large artisan bazaar that caters to the tourist trade, by the Ferry Terminal on the docks of the old Port Of Havana. Although it appears to be paired with “Her”, the two have nothing in common except that two artists, one in Manhattan, New York and a second in Havana, Cuba captured human emotion and suffering in a such a way that the paintings appear paired, even though produced by two artists that have never met, painting at the same time, almost 1,400 miles apart.
Four Harbors: The four red-bordered oil paintings flanking “Her” are all from the same artist, and depict, in a landscape quasi-abstract style, the progressive setting of the sun (yellow) on a harbor scene, with ships. The paintings get progressively more abstract, but if you follow them, left to right, you can see the progression of the setting sun. The artist was born in Australia and resides in/paints in Mustique, a small 1,400 acre private Caribbean island in the St Vincent/Grenadines chain of islands.
“Saboteurs”: The balloon and scissors is a tongue-in-cheek oil painting diptych, with some collage cut-outs, from Joel Sager, an established fine artist in Columbia, Missouri, who also owns a gallery that represents local and Midwestern regional artists. The grouping was titled “Saboteurs” by the artist, describing the scissored-hand about to liberate the tethered balloon; a third painting (not displayed) depicts another hand holding a pin – about to prick the balloon. The artist uses ash in his oils to achieve the darker weathered finish.
“Tron” is the hunched-over motorcycle driver above the soda bar; it was painted in oil by a young up and upcoming Latino artist in San Francisco – it was hanging in a restaurant in a downtown San Francisco – Nob Hill neighborhood and was bought off the wall and shipped to New Jersey. It is in the style of the old late 1960’s Japanese anime Speed Racer cartoon.
Two Landscapes: The two mixed-media photographs on the front wall are not a diptych, but rather from a larger series of artwork by Chris Dahlquist, a mid-western woman artist, who captures lonely stretches of empty interstate criss-crossing the middle of the country. She prints them on pieces of painted steel, and then glazes over them, to achieve a unique, ethereal finish. She titles her finished artwork by the nearest mile marker to where she took her photograph, but she will never reveal what highway they are on, or what State they are in….it is meant to be a narrative on the lonely, endless, yet beautiful highway landscapes we all drive through, and usually pass by, without noticing. These pieces were bought at the gallery owned by the artist who painted Saboteurs, above.
Three Urban Buildings: The triptych on the front wall is from a Minneapolis-based photographic artist who specializes in abandoned buildings/urban decay. If you look closely, the photographs are of abandoned industrial/commercial buildings, which have been fully coated in a single color paint by their owners (in this case, red, white and blue, respectively), covering walls, windows and doors in a monochromatic wash. The artist had photographed dozens of such buildings; these three were selected and paired by the collector – they are all abandoned buildings in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, where the gallery they were bought in is located.
“Orange Crush/Sneak Preview” The diptych in the front bay windows are a montage of abstract painting and collage of ephemera in the print media, compiled by a Santa Monica (Los Angeles) based artist in 2012. The one is titled “Orange Crush’; the other is titled “Sneak Preview” , both for obvious reasons, and represent the sensationalism in the media that bombards all of us, every day. The artist had compiled a series of about a dozen such pieces; the owner purchased a triptych, and decided to hang two at the restaurant…the third, titled “Dick Tracy”, is not on display.
Courthouse Park: The plan view, folk art oil painting on the upper back wall is from Ann Reeves, a well known local artist who paints folk scenes of many local towns in northwest and northern New Jersey, and has been doing so for decades. The oil here is a birds-eye view of Garret Wall Park and the surrounding buildings, set in front of the Warren County Courthouse in Belvidere, about 3 blocks from this restaurant. Ann painted this scene almost a quarter century ago, in 1990.
The triptych above the soda bar are scenes of the sprawling urban decay that fronts the Malecon, the seaside walkway that runs for miles in downtown Havana. Most of the buildings were erected at the turn of the 19th/early 20th century, and are in decrepit condition…yet they are teeming with residents who make use of every square inch of space. The city, although in ruin, is beautiful in its own unique way, washed in a variety of faded colors.
The two street scenes in oil behind the candy cases depict the circa-1950’s American cars that still crawl along the downtown city streets – many are used by budding entrepreneurs to give rides to tourists. The cars are kept running by hobbling together parts scrounged from all corners of the City. Art depicting the old cars and downtown streets represents a large percentage of the art sold to tourists, since it represents how most people perceive Havana.
The sole photograph hanging on the wall behind the candy cases was taken by a Havana artist, who chronicled the decay of the City in interesting ways. This color image depicts a downtown Havana cobblestone city street, with broken sidewalk and curb, the puddled rainwater reflecting the facade of a once-grand building, now in a state of decay. This same type of image could be replicated a thousand times over throughout the City.
Cuban Surrealism – Jose Fuster: The two whimsical, surrealistic oils hanging to the left and right of “Him” are by the renowned Cuban artist Jose Rodriguez Fuster, who has exhibited his work all over the world. Although Fuster is not allowed to visit the United States, his art has also been showcased in the United States, including the Center For Cuban Studies and a variety of private galleries in Manhattan. His oeuvre has been a cherished part of Cuban culture since the 1960’s, owing to its celebration of the island’s African roots, ordinary daily life and themes from the Santeria religion, which is popular in Cuba. Mr. Fuster lives in Jaimanitas, a small fishing village outside of Havana, and sells his art directly out of his home, which acts as a large gallery of his paintings, ceramic art, drawings and graphic design. These two oils were hanging in the same small room on the second floor of Mr. Fuster’s sprawling home/gallery complex.
Aboriginal Art – The Outback: The two square rectangular oils in cream and yellow on the upper wall by the front door were purchased in Sydney, Australia. They were both created by an aboriginal contemporary artist and touch upon common themes woven into the works of other contemporary artists from the Outback. Specifically, this art, and similar art, represents the influences of nature and natural cycles and the ancestral spirit/dream worlds on human life – which is centric to the aboriginal culture. Non-static landscape elements are often incorporated into the art, including the terrain and the skies above. The specific influences of the two pieces in this diptych were not provided by the artist; it was meant to be left to the viewer to determine for themselves.
Abstract Expressionism – 1960’s: The two experimental oils high on the wall behind the candy cases are from the private works of the owner’s father, whose forte was portraiture and illustrations in the style of Rockwell, but created these atypical pieces for his own use when first dabbling with abstract expressionism in the mid-1960’s. The scene on the far left is represented by a series of vertical, thick swaths of colored oils, three-dimensional and heavy in texture – autumnal in context – meant as a compositional study – depicting movement/action; the scene on the far right is galactic, which was a common theme for the artist, since he was an aerospace engineer by profession, building engines for the first supersonic military aircraft in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The artist never pursued any other abstract works; these are the only finished examples he produced. Both paintings were displayed briefly for the artists own personal enjoyment, and then cached into storage, locked away for 40 years. The owner, who enjoys abstract art, acquired them from the Estate, and has hung them to honor his father’s love of art and his willingness to experiment with different forms of artistic expression, outside his comfort zone.