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Coronavirus & COVID-19 • Quad Cities News & Resources
Arts & Culture

Schiffer Shows Paintings in QC

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Tim Schiffer
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one of Tim Schiffer's paintings

Tim Schiffer, former executive director of the Figge Art Museum, will show 15 of his new paintings at the Bereskin Gallery and Art Academy, in Bettendorf.

The exhibit – “Paintings Within Paintings” – will be on display through July 28th . An opening reception with the artist (who recently moved to Tucson, Ariz.) will be held Friday, June 4, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Schiffer, now 66, earned his BA in art from Yale, and attended the Yale Summer School of Music and Art in Norfolk, Conn. He earned his MFA in painting from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where for eight years he was a lecturer in art and gallery director at the College of Creative Studies.

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Tim Schiffer

In 1993, he was named curator at the Museum of Ventura County in Ventura, California, and served as executive director from 1999 to 2012. Then served as executive director of the Figge in Davenport from 2012 to 2019. He first retired to Iowa City and then recently to Tucson, Ariz. The paintings in the Bereskin show are from January 2020 to March of this year.
Many of Schiffer’s watercolor works combine traditional still life, like fruit, glasses, and tableware, with re-productions of other famous paintings, partly for their role in the composition, but also for the stories they add to his art. He’s incorporated other artworks in his paintings for about four years.

“You know I’ve always collected postcards from museums since I was a little kid and I just was doing these paintings of dry leaves, which was kind of interesting and one day, I just did one of leaves sitting on top of a postcard and I really liked, it was like it opened a whole other dimension in the painting. So then I’ve just been kind of playing with that ever since.”

It can be intimidating for him to duplicate famous paintings as postcards.

“It's challenging. It's kind of fun, but it's definitely challenging. and it, I really have to spend quite a bit of time messing around with them until I find a combination that works, you know, and that's the most frustrating part is just trying to figure out the idea of the painting.”

“It's just very intuitive and so sometimes it takes a week. I’ll spend like three or four hours moving stuff around on the tabletop and accomplish nothing. And so, then if I don't really know what I want to do, if I don't have a setup that I really like and I know I won't have the interest to complete the painting? You know what I mean? So there's a lot, I do a lot of drawings before I start the painting.”

Schiffer previously showed 20 of his works in December 2019 at Quad City Arts, in
Rock Island, which Bereskin saw and admired.

“I met Pat when I first came to the Quad-Cities and I really admire her for, she’s got unbelievable energy and the classes she does now, it’s very ambitious what she’s doing. And so she had mentioned it, when I had the show at Quad City Arts, she mentioned maybe doing a show and then she contacted me.”

Schiffer and his wife (who have three daughters) went on vacation to Tucson for a month in January, and decided to move there. Since the end of April, they’ve been renting a place while their new home is being built, and Schiffer will come to the opening reception on June 4.
He says his new paintings were inspired by a Figge-sponsored trip to the Netherlands in 2017. And being in lockdown at home last year was conducive to getting more painting done.

“Part of the paintings that I've done, the paintings in them are kind of dependent
on the books and postcards that I have. And I'm always kind of looking for new books but actually some of the Van Eyck paintings are all from a book that I bought on a Figge trip to the Netherlands and that book has been like a gold mine because it has really great images of Van Eyck paintings.”

To see samples of his work, and for more information, visit www.timschiffer.com.
For more on the Bereskin gallery, visit www.bereskinartgallery.com.