Surrealism provides the inspiration for Hagerty’s art, from his earliest dream-based watercolors of the late 1970s to his striking and brilliant oil paintings of today. One of the seminal modernist styles of the 20th century, surrealism started as a literary and intellectual movement in Paris. The movement was expansive, psychoanalytical, experimental and pluralistic — an ideal fit for Hagerty’s world view.
Through his art, Hagerty brings to life the essence and visions of the conscious, the unconscious, and the imagination. His work collapses the laws of space and time and sweeps the reader into his extraordinarily vivid dreams, his fascination with myth and symbols, and his infinite curiosity about, and experimentation with, color and form. His paintings are figurative, intensely emotional, evocative, whimsical, at times dark, and demand an immediate devotion to the images on the canvas as well as to the artist’s psyche.
The compilation features more than 250 works including 175 color reproductions, black-and-white sketches, uniquely-painted bones and found objects, which Hagerty has created over the past 40 years.
Accompanying the collection of works are an expansive essay by art historian Roberta Sokolitz and an intimate interview with writer Gary Smith. Together, these pieces explore and reveal the passions, obsessions, life and mind of the prolific artist, Richard Hagerty.
American Surrealist is a long-awaited monograph as well as an exquisite artwork in itself.
Richard Hagerty is a surrealist artist who for more than 40 years has painted fantastic, visionary worlds.
Often based on dreams, always fueled by intense curiosity, Hagerty’s paintings explore manifold realms, including mythology, astronomy, anatomy, botany, history, philosophy, world religions, quantum physics and cosmology.
Widely collected and exhibited, this prolific, self-taught, iconoclastic artist is as well a plastic surgeon by training, ardent conservationist, outdoorsman, frequent overseas medical volunteer, amateur musician, and perpetual student. Hagerty lives and works not far from where he grew up in downtown historic Charleston, South Carolina.
He’s an outlier, an original, a Renaissance man for our times.
“Richard Hagerty’s surrealist paintings reflect symbolic expressions of a genius who was born already knowing how to paint. Through self discipline and meditation he has been able to dip his brush into his collective unconscious genetic memory to create images that must be more that 30,000 years old.”
– Jonathan Green