Photo: Goddess (Anthony Quinn)
A collection of paintings and sculptures by late Mexican-American actor Anthony Quinn, whose “true passion” was art, as his widow Katherine told Efe, is being exhibited in the British capital until June 8.
This is the first time a public gallery in Britain has shown works by Quinn (1915-2001), who throughout his life combined the artist’s brush with the movie screen and took up sculpture after turning 50.
His third and last wife Katherine Quinn organized the exhibition, which provides a perspective of the artistic side of the actor, known for his role as the fisherman in “Zorba the Greek” (1964), a revolutionary in “Viva Zapata!” (1952), and for his portrayal of painter Paul Gauguin in “Lust for Life” (1956), a role that won him his second Oscar as supporting actor.
Though his movie career was highly successful - he was the only Mexican actor to win an Oscar until young Lupita Nyong’o took one this year - his true vocation as a child was painting.
“What many people don’t know about Anthony Quinn is that early in his life, when he was a boy, he wanted to be an artist and an architect, not an actor,” said Katherine, who married him in 1997 when he was 82 and she was 34.
After some practice at an architecture studio, Quinn, who suffered from a pronunciation problem, had an operation and began attending classes at an actors’ school to overcome his speech impediment, she said.
To pay for those sessions and “since he was poor,” he began working as a janitor at the school and, when his classes finished, he was offered a part in a production, Katherine said.
It was then that “he fell in love with acting and kept it up because he saw he could earn money as an actor,” though he continued drawing all his life “as an expression of his emotions, of his soul,” according to his widow.
The influence of Picasso and Matisse is evident in the colorful cubist paintings on show at the “Anthony Quinn’s Eye” exhibition at Gallery Different, Katherine said, while his sculpture is more reserved.
The gem of the sculptures exhibited in London is a marble that can be purchased for 55,000 pounds ($92,199).