Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art

St. Joseph, Missouri

(816) 233-7003


David Brega and Douglas Brega: Oil and Water


Paintings by identical twin-brother artists will be on display through June 3, 2001 at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in the special exhibition David Brega and Douglas Brega: Oil and Water. The 25-year retrospective of the Bregas' work is their first major joint exhibition, and is coming to St. Joseph after its showing in Springfield Massachusetts at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts (see below).

Douglas Brega, of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, paints realistic watercolors of the people and places of New England, with his work often being compared to that of Andrew Wyeth. His architectural landscapes of lighthouses, old Colonial homes, Cape Cod windows, and weathered buildings capture the simple grandeur of New England. He is attracted to clean shapes, angled lines, and the play of light and shadow. He usually works from photographs, sometimes taking as many as 100 slides which he uses to make preliminary sketches. When he creates portraits, Doug tries to bring out the personality of the person, rather than concentrate on the physical likeness. His paintings are meticulously done in a watercolor and drybrush medium, which is extremely difficult and allows him to achieve extraordinary detail. (left: Douglas Brega, Nubble Light, 1996, watercolor on paper, 25 x 40 inches, Private collection; right: Douglas Brega, Sarah, 1994, drybrush on paper, 21 x 28 inches, Collection of Douglas Brega)

David Brega works in the trompe l'oeil tradition, meaning "to fool the eye" into believing that which is painted is real. He is often told that his paintings looks as real as photographs, but he emphasizes that he is not a photorealist. He suggests that "Photos look like photos, while trompe l'oeil looks like it's there." Many of the subjects used in his paintings were found in antique stores. He is drawn to old, worn surfaces and intrigued by light and patina. (left: David Brega, Bouguereau Woman, 1999, oil on masonite, 20 x 12 1/2 inches. Private collection; right: David Brega, Jack in the Box, 1992, oil on masonite, 6 1/8 x 8 5/8 inches, Collection of Bebe and Crosby Kemper)

His most recent painting, "Colors", is being shown for the first time in this exhibition. The painting is of an elaborately decorated leather jacket with an American flag as a backdrop. The jacket belongs to his friend, Joey Kramer, the drummer from the rock group Aerosmith. The title "Colors" refers to the term that motorcyclists use to describe their personalized jackets. David wove the colors theme into his composition by including the flag (flying the colors) and a playbill from a performance of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," in which his son Jess appeared with Donny Osmond.

David and Douglas Brega were born in Springfield, Massachusetts on Christmas Day, 1948, and were raised in nearby East Longmeadow. After studying together at Paler School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut, Douglas said to David, "You take oil. I'll take water", thus defining the direction their art would take. The two spent time as commercial artists, and worked together on an enormous 80' x 40' double portrait of Frank Sinatra that hung outside Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas in 1979 as a tribute to his 64th birthday. (left: Douglas Brega, After the Harvest, 1985, drybrush on paper, 20 x 29 inches, Collection of Susan and David Hurwitt; right: David Brega, Apple Trio, 1995, oil on masonite, 19 x 26 inches,. Collection of Susan Lunt Chapman)

The Bregas' works are included in some of the finest collections in the world, including the collection of Kansas City banker Crosby Kemper, and Doug's work is in the permanent collections of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Kansas City, and the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art.

Works by David and Douglas have been on a total of 11 Yankee magazine covers, including David's work, "Yankee Rack Picture", which appeared on the jacket of the commemorative book The Best of Yankee Magazine,

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