1924 - 2015
Our beloved father, American artist Gino Hollander, passed away peacefully on August 27, age 91, with his wife Barbi and family members at his side. He lived a passionate, fiercely individualistic, artistic life.
Eugene Forman Hollander, born in Newark, NJ, served in the 10th Mountain Division in WWII, twice wounded, and decorated for action in the Italian campaign. He recorded detailed interviews with the Library of Congress on these experiences.
After leaving the family fur business, A. Hollander & Sons, he moved to Greenwich Village and met and married Barbara Johnson. Barbi renamed him "Gino" and together they directed documentary and commercial films. Gino was a self-taught painter who developed a unique 'figurative abstract expressionist' style. The first of many Hollander Galleries opened on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village in 1960, and a year later he moved his young family to Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol. Thus began his 30-year love affair with Spain.
Gino quickly became a bullfight aficionado and ran with the bulls in Pamplona many times. He learned Spanish horsemanship and attended the horse fairs of Sevilla and Malaga. In 1973, Gino and his children rode 1,200 kilometers across Spain to Pamplona. In 1970 tragedy struck when Gino's eldest son Marc died from an accident in Spain.
Gino built his dream house near Pizarra, inland from the crowded coast, and established a museum where visitors were encouraged to touch and share Spain's cultural heritage. The collection exhibited everything from prehistoric flints to antique Spanish furnishings alongside Gino's paintings. In recognition for his contribution and preservation of Spanish culture, Gino was awarded a Silver Medallion honoring King Juan Carlos' birthday. He later donated the collection to Pizarra where it remains on display.
Gino was an avid tennis player at Lew Hoad's Tennis Center in Fuengirola and enjoyed playing over many years with television journalist Morley Safer.
Gino and Barbi returned to the USA in the early nineties, settling in Aspen, CO. He continued his passion for adventure, making some 500 trips into the Rocky Mountain back country, frequently camping above 10,000 feet in all seasons.
In 2009, Gino moved to Ojai, CA, a place suited to his individualistic spirit and his love of the wilderness.
The doors of their animal-filled homes were always open. Gino often sketched whomever entered his field of vision, often giving the subject his work. He firmly believed art should be appreciated, not merely sold or collected, and contributed countless canvases to charities.
Gino Hollander was a prolific artist and, above all, a husband, father and grandfather who inspired a great many people to follow their own dreams with the same simple logic that he embodied throughout his long life of adventures ... go for it, and enjoy it all.
Family members celebrated Gino at Chief Peak above Ojai on September 2.
Donations in Gino's memory should be directed to National Jewish Health of Denver or SmileTrain.
His daughter, sculptor Siri Hollander, manages the Hollander Gallery in Santa Fe, NM.
Jim, Lise, Siri and Scott Hollander
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Published by New York Times from Sep. 8 to Sep. 9, 2015.