A Master Continues to Evolve
By Laura Shabott
On an unseasonably cold day in June, I am preparing to meet with Paul Resika, a remarkable man and a brilliant artist, to discuss his current exhibitions at both the Provincetown Art Association and Museum and the Berta Walker Gallery. A painter who has created “thousands of pictures” (as he calls them), he was given his first show in 1948 at the age of 19 with George Dix Gallery on Madison Avenue in New York. Resika was already a serious artist, having studied at age 12 with Sol Wilson and at 17 with Hans Hofmann. A prodigy will often burn out his candle at a young age, but that is not the case at all with Resika; he has a body of work spanning almost eight decades.
Our scheduled appointment is at the Berta Walker Gallery in Provincetown, where he is represented by his longtime friend. Arriving early at the vibrant Bradford Street space, I am greeted by new managing director Grace Hopkins. She and Walker have just installed an extraordinary show, “Hans Hofmann (1880-1966) and Blanche Lazzell (1878-1956).” In one
of the rooms, an exquisite group of pen and ink drawings by the master teacher are shown alongside woodcuts and gouaches by his former student, modernist Lazzell. This is the perfect place to engage in a conversation about art with Resika, who studied with Hoffmann here in Provincetown during the summer of 1947.
When Resika arrives at the gallery with his lovely wife Blair, a noted photographer, we walk about the exhibit. The former student points out a gesture drawing made by Hofmann
in 1935. “It looks just like him. It really does! I have never seen a self-portrait
of his before.” He then tells me a wonderful story. “My mother came to see me, her boy in Provincetown. I was just a kid then and she was having dinner with an old friend of hers. It turns out to be Joe Kaplan, a very noted Provincetown artist.”