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Lawrence Alexander Willette (1952-2005)

L.A. Willette was a dynamic painter whose abstractions are as sensual as his female nudes. Both were executed in bold slashing strokes, informed by strong draftsmanship. Willette had assimilated the lessons of the Abstract Expressionists and applied them in a powerful postmodern manner to create paintings with flowing contours and brilliant colors, emphasized by firm black outlines. His virtuoso brushwork imbues his large canvases with a tremendous sense of energy.
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L.A.Willette About
Lawrence Alexander Willette
Lawrence Alexander Willette
Lawrence Alexander Willette
Lawrence Alexander Willette
Lawrence Alexander Willette
Lawrence Alexander Willette
Lawrence Alexander Willette
Lawrence Alexander Willette

Born in Manhattan on March 16th 1952, Lawrence Alexander Willette cultivated his prowess as an abstract expressionist and has since mastered several other genres of painting over the years as a professional artist.
Before even finishing his years as an undergraduate at S.U.N.Y, he had a stint teaching graduate classes in the BFA program, where he came under the tutelage of two masters painters: Alexander Minewski, a protégé of Matisse, and Joop Sanders, a friend and compatriot of Willem de Kooning. The result being an influence based on the poetry of Matisse's nudes and the compositional complexities of abstract expressionism.

In 1978, after graduating, he concurrently founded The Westbeth Painting Cooperative & Gallery in Manhattan. As the resident playwright he wrote the farce Waiting for the Dough, produced by Westbeth Theatre Center, incorporating his abstract and figurative mural size paintings as the set. Upon visiting his studio at Westbeth, Elaine DeKooning said: "If Bill (de Kooning) was still painting women, he'd be doing what you're doing". Various professional ventures, "odd" jobs and small shows in small towns, led to national exposure with an international print ad campaign for Cointreau Liqueur featuring his art. International shows soon followed in Miami, Chicago, Bryn Mawr, Paris, London, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Luxemburg and Bologna.

During the 1980's, Willette showed at some SoHo galleries in New York, and after meeting Andy Warhol became inspired to produce his own arts magazine: The Metropolitan Muse, which showcases his nude photography and fiction and The Willette Gazzette, which were published quarterly.

Lawrence Alexander Willette died Sunday morning, November 13th 2005 at Beth Israel Hospital in New York City due to complications from cancer. He was 53 years old.

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Lawrence Willette, painter, died in New York City on Nov. 13, after a short struggle against intestinal cancer. He was 53 years old.

Many will remember Lawrence as the artist who displayed his paintings on the southwest corner of W. Broadway and Prince St. in Soho for well over a decade. His paintings were bold, graphic, colorful, brilliant and potent. At times they were also confrontational and rude. The same could be said about the artist.

Not many people know that Lawrence was half African-American. He certainly did not appear to be. His long blond hair and light complexion did not give a hint of his ethnicity. He rarely mentioned it, but the fact is, that it became a problem for him as a youngster. He told me that he took a lot of grief from those who thought he looked “too white,” and so he became defensive and overcompensated to the point of being abrasive.

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Anyone walking down West Broadway on a warm spring afternoon would have to notice the black leather jacket and tousled blonde hair of the artist selling paintings and holding court on the corner of Prince Street. L.A. Willette was a fixture on New York's downtown art scene. His passionate self-expression decorated NYC's art galleries, restaurants, clubs, and store windows for over thirty years.

L.A. Willette died Sunday morning, November 13th of cancer. He fell ill only months earlier, having delayed a visit to the doctor.

Mr. Willette was a second-generation abstract expressionist who specialized in explosive, thickly-painted nudes, abstracts and cityscapes, blazing with color and motion. Elaine de Kooning said about Mr. Willette, during a visit to his studio, "If Bill [de Kooning] was still painting women, he'd be doing what you're doing". Over the years, Willette had mastered collage and other techniques, pouring his energy nonstop into an evolving body of artworks, writing, and photography.

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More Articles...

  1. Googling Larry Willette
  2. L.A. Willette, (1952 - 2005)
  3. Friends of L.A.Willette
  4. Artist In Passing
  5. My friend in NYC is missing

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News Archive

He's doing the ol' soft-porn shoe

He's doing the ol' soft-porn shoe
Ladies, if your feet are killing you as you scour the city for presents, you might consider buying some...
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Selling Art Work in SoHo

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...is like pan handling as the show girls in Vegas get off of a shift.
You'd rather be a fan, a friend...
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A bold new idea makes news

A bold new idea makes news
L.A. Willette is a dynamic painter whose abtsractions are as sensual as his female nudes. Both are executed...
Read More...

Giuliani to face questioning in case by artist

Giuliani to face questioning in case by artist
Ex-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to face questioning in case by artist June 13, 2002 New York City, New York...
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Shows & Events Location, Prices, etc...
  • 06 Jul 2004
    The Power of Women 06 Jul 2004 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM

    Art @ Large presents: "The Power of Women" featuring the works of L. A. Willette Born in Manhattan, L. A. Willette cultivated his prowess as an abstract

  • 02 Dec 1999
    The Modern Muse 02 Dec 1999 07:00 PM to 10:00 PM

    The Modern Muse: Paintings, Prints and Photographs at the Andrea Thompon Salon L.A. Willette of N.Y.C. Exhibition for serious collectors In Miami for

  • 14 Jul 1999
    Intimacy 14 Jul 1999 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM

    Intimacy: The Lulu of Sartre. An existential comedy based on the short story "Intiminè" by Jean Paul Sartre adapted & directed by: Tricia Mancuso original

  • 03 Apr 1998
    Angels in Waiting 03 Apr 1998 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM

    LA Willette Angels in Waiting: Abstracts and Stylized Nudes Paintings, drawings & prints available at David Leonardis Gallery artist opening reception: Friday

  • 08 Jun 1997
    L.A. Willette 08 Jun 1997 All Day

    Curator: George J. Robinson SUN. June 8, 1997 Three O'Clock - Five O'Clock PM at very uptown Chanting House Gallery-Cafè 634 West 207th St. (One Block

  • 01 Feb 1997
    Art at Cafe Cento Sette 01 Feb 1997 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM

    L.A. Willette Art at Cafe Cento Sette Cafe # 420-5933 Painting Studio # 696-9169

  • 12 Oct 1993
    Artists in Residence 12 Oct 1993 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM

    Gallery ONE ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE Angelo Bona Dmitry Ivashintsov Mark Kalpin Danielle Pollitz Alan Russell Cowan Inger Lee Sand L.A. Willette Opening

  • 06 Dec 1990
    L.A. Willette III 06 Dec 1990 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM

    PAINTINGS-PRINTS & HAND PAINTED PUMPS FOR SALE @ THE HUDSON GRILL by abstract expressionist L.A. Willette III Featuring the premiere issue of The Metropolitan

  • 25 Jul 1987
    L.A.Willette 25 Jul 1987 All Day

    PAINTINGS, PRINTS AND DRAWINGS July 25th OPENING AT MARYLOU'S

  • 05 Sep 1979
    Destined Arts Inc. 05 Sep 1979 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM

    Westbeth Painter's Gallery presents New Paintings & Drawings L.A. Willette P. Micheal Laura Rudin Phil Cody September 5 - October 5, 1979 Opening at

  • 09 Nov 1978
    Waiting for the Dough 09 Nov 1978 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM

    A new play by Lawrence Willette. Thurs thru Sat at 11 p.m. 11/9-25 (no perf on Thanksgiving). $3 (691-2272).

  • 10 Jan 1977
    Painted Women 10 Jan 1977 12:00 AM to 12:00 AM

    L.A. Willette @ Westbeth Painters Space

06 Jul - 01 Aug
03 Apr - 01 Mar
12 Oct - 26 Jul
05 Sep - 11 Feb