Rex Dimond, the focus of a posthumous exhibit at the Dutch Ale House in Saugerties opening at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon, February 7, started painting his bright pastel, oil and acrylic works as personal messages to friends and co-workers. They were a way of brightening the rooms where people worked and lived. They captured the world he loved as a teenager scarred by polio just before Jonas Salk unleashed the dread affliction’s universal cure, determined to get on with life as first an army medic and lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne, and later a Cornell grad with degrees in horticulture and floriculture who worked for years as a landscaper at the Olmstead Center in New York City’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Dimond, the son of Broadway professionals (an actress and stage manager) painted animals, urban and rural landscapes, the people he knew, street scenes, and life in the parks and neighborhoods he loved around the city. In his 30s he had some success with one man shows of his more abstract works at various galleries in SoHo and the Upper East Side. Later, after buying a second home in Fleischmanns and eventually moving up there full time, he took to exhibiting at the Woodstock Artists Association & Museum.
In 2008, Rex Dimond developed Post Polio Syndrome, which took his life four years ago this March.
“When I purchased his estate in 2013, it was estimated that there were 1000+ paintings,” says Amy Teitter, owner of Dimond’s paintings and organizer of the upcoming Ale House exhibit. “His provenance contains random indications and unsolved mysteries regarding his life and career. We are pursuing all leads, in hope of discovering more about Rex, his past and the whereabouts of any sold or misappropriated work. We look forward to re-introducing his work and hope to captivate and attract enthusiastic buyers with an interest in unique art who share our appreciation.”
It’s original stuff and, as expected by the artist’s exuberant story, quite full of life.
The show’s opening runs from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, February 7 at the Dutch Ale House, 263 Main Street in Saugerties; the exhibit then stays up through April 3.