Manhattan East Side Waterfront, 1660, Len Tantillo, Oil on canvas, 2018, Collection of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum
The Albany Institute of History & Art presents the exhibition “A Sense of Time: The Historical Art of L.F. Tantillo”, opening January 27, 2021.
Artist Len Tantillo is recognized for his ability to capture specific moments and visualize places of the past through his paintings. The exhibition “A Sense of Time: The Historical Art of L. F. Tantillo” highlights the artist’s forty-year career and brings together a selection of over 90 works of art by one of the most noted painters of historical subjects and marine views of our time. Having spent his life in the Hudson Valley, most of Tantillo’s work portrays the sites and events that shaped the history of New York State, from pre-European contact Iroquois villages to Dutch settlement and continuing to the development of infrastructure across the Hudson River.
The exhibition is organized around 10 themes including New Amsterdam and New Netherland. Tantillo’s painting of Fort Orange gives us a sense of what the earliest settlement of what is now Albany looked like in 1635. His paintings of early Manhattan help us to understand that the tip of the island was a bustling, yet lonely place in the mid-seventeenth century. Tantillo’s goal is to help modern day viewers have a better understanding of what life was like while walking the streets of New Amsterdam, sailing to Albany or living on a farm in the country almost four hundred years ago.
As an artist, Tantillo is known for his attention to detail and historical accuracy. A Sense of Time, which features works of art from fifty institutions and collectors, will provide insight into his artistic process. Before a painting, Tantillo meticulously researches his subject to ensure the accuracy of the paintings’ details and setting. The exhibition pairs some of Tantillo’s works with historical maps, images, and objects that informed and shaped their accuracy. In addition, visitors will be able to see Tantillo’s working models, digitally reconstructed villages and street scenes, and preparatory sketches.
VIRTUAL PROGRAM Artistic Insights with L.F. Tantillo
Featured artist L. F. Tantillo will host monthly talks that highlight paintings currently on display in the exhibition A Sense of Time: The Historical Art of L. F. Tantillo. He will share insights into his inspirations, artistic process, historical research, and more.
VIRTUAL PROGRAM Picturing New York’s Past
Monday, June 14 • 6:30pm – 7:30pm
A conversation between historical artist Len Tantillo and narrative history writer Russell Shorto about how each uses historical records to recreate the past. What is the role of personal creativity? As Tantillo says, “I try to keep who I am out of my pictures. But I know that’s impossible.” Join us for a look into how two interpreters of history view their craft. Watch the program here.
About L. F. Tantillo
Len Tantillo was born in 1946 in upstate New York and attended the Rhode Island School of Design. From 1969 to 1976 he worked as an architectural designer and acquired a working knowledge of building design and construction. During his apprenticeship the focus of his work shifted to visual presentation and in 1976, Tantillo began working as a free-lance architectural illustrator. In 1980, he was commissioned to depict a series of 19th century structures from archeological artifacts and historic documents. Similar projects followed and in 1984, Tantillo left commercial art and began the full-time pursuit of historical fine art. He has spent the past 40 years creating numerous historical and marine paintings, which have continued to draw a wide audience. His work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Albany Institute of History & Art, Historic Huguenot Street, Fenimore Art Museum, Excelsior College, and in many other public collections. In 2009, the Westfries Museum, Hoorn, Netherlands exhibited 50 of his works in the exhibition Hollanders and the Hudson: The Paintings of L.F. Tantillo. He is a fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists and the New York Academy of History. Tantillo’s studio is located in southern Rensselaer County in upstate New York.
About the Albany Institute
Founded in 1791, the Albany Institute of History & Art is one of the oldest museums in the United States. It also is the major repository for the region’s heritage, with nationally significant collections. The Institute’s museum and library holdings form the best collections in the United States documenting the life and culture of the Upper Hudson Valley region from the late seventeenth century to the present day. Although the Institute is famous for its significant Hudson River school paintings, the broad scope of its collections includes fine arts, furnishings, personal objects, documents, manuscripts, photographs, and personal papers used by people of all ages, social classes, economic conditions, and cultural groups. Dutch Culture USA has previously supported their exhibition ‘The Schuyler Sisters and Their Circle’.