Russo Lee Gallery is also pleased to present Michele Russo: Works from the Estate. Michele Russo (1909–2004) consistently focused his work on the human condition and consequently the ideals of man. Known primarily for slim and spare Modernist figurative works, Russo also painted chic portraits and elegant formalist landscapes. Featuring large-scale paintings and a selection of smaller drawings, this exhibition highlights Russo at his best, sourced from over three decades of work previously held in the artist’s estate and private collections.
Michele Russo made significant contributions to the Northwest throughout his life. After graduating from Yale in 1934 and marrying fellow artist Sally Haley, he arrived in Portland in 1947. He taught at the Pacific Northwest College of Art for over 25 years and became an active advocate for the arts during the politically charged 1950s. He was a founder of the Portland Center for the Visual Arts and was the first artist appointed to the Metropolitan Arts Commission in the 1970s. Throughout his career, Michele Russo’s work was included in major exhibitions nationally and is in many public and private collections. Russo was honored with a fifty-year retrospective at the Portland Art Museum in 1988. More recently, his work was part of the Portland Art Museum’s exhibition In Passionate Pursuit: The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection and Legacy.