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There are portrait painters who please their sitters and there are painters who paint portraits because they like to paint. I’m of the latter school. I don’t have to worry about glamorizing the models; I don’t have to make sure they’re happy when they see the finished painting. Portrait painters who accept commissions have to accommodate the subject; they have to flatter and cajole, I on the other hand, am free to devote myself to the act of painting.
I guess you could call me a formalist, a structuralist or a purist. The act of painting is the essence; the model provides the opportunity. My feeling is that in 150 years no one will care who the person sitting for the painter was; the painting will either stand or fall on its merits.
“I’ve been fortunate,” says Irwin Greenberg. “What with selling my paintings, winning competitions, and teaching at the Art Students League, I’ve earned my bread as an artist for more than 40 years.” Twice a winner of the High Winds Medal and a Dolphin Fellow of the American Watercolor Society, Greenberg has won more than 200 other prizes for his masterly paintings.