WHEN Abstract Expressionism exploded in the 1950s, Edward Melcarth was painting and sculpting construction workers, junkies, and hustlers in an epic style, highly influenced by Renaissance painters like Paolo Veronese and Tintoretto. This link between the past and present was a significant feature of his artistic vision, one that still has a striking effect on the viewer to this day. His casting contemporary scenes in a heroic model is a revolutionary gesture and worthy, at the very least, of a deeper investigation into his artwork and life.
Richard Taddei was an assistant for Melcarth and remained a close friend and associate until Melcarth’s death in 1973. His own paintings are usually concerned with male nudes, but (unlike Melcarth) in semi-abstraction, or in a style that Taddei describes in this interview as “Cubist.” Taddei studied at Pratt Institute and has exhibited widely. The Leslie-Lohman Museum owns a number of his paintings, and his work can be found in the private collections of John Loring, Malcolm S. Forbes, Robert Stigwood, Princess Minnie de Beauvau-Craon, Reed Massengill, and many others. He currently lives in Montgomery, New York.