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Born in Marseilles, Nadine Daskaloff considers France her homeland, though her mother's second marriage to a Mexican diplomat took her as a young girl from country to country, including Sweden, Canada, Cuba and Mexico, navigating diverse cultures, peoples, and languages that all left an imprint. She describes, "I traveled intensely during my formative years and, by age 14, I spoke four languages. I have always felt that painting was my fifth."

Such a life of varied experience certainly contributed to the imaginative, expressive, sensitive, and intimate portrayals of the human figure that would become one of her artistic threads.

Nadine initiated formal art studies in France, however her artistic beginnings were solidified and recognized in Mexico in the 1960s, where she immersed herself in the art and architecture of the moment and with noted representatives of the abstract moment like Tamayo, Cueves, and Toledo. It was in Mexico City that she had her first solo exhibition at La Plastica Mexicana at age 22, presenting earthy, visceral paintings that, in part, fit the time and place as well as represented her personal artistic vision. She would go on to have solo shows at significant galleries in Mexico City, culminating in a 1975 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in that capital.

Returning to Europe in 1968 as part of the Mexican selection for the Biennale des Jeunes in Paris would mark a profound change in both her personal and artistic life, as she would meet her future husband, Bulgarian artist Gyorgy Daskaloff. Together, they would move to and reside in New York City in 1969. This would bring Nadine's work further international exposure through both solo and group shows, as the couple became established in this flourishing center of the art world. During these times of change and evolution, including the birth of their son in 1973, Nadine maintained and enriched her art through painting, collage, and printmaking. Color came to be a primary force, whether as a figure or abstraction.

Her portraits are a unique combination of elegance and whimsy, of sultriness and vitality. She paints the faces of family and friends, but many of her portraits derive from pure imagination, or a fantasy composite of persons she has seen or met. 

Even a cursory look at Nadine Daskaloff's other artistic directions, namely abstract, geometric paintings, drawings and collages. At times explosive, others restrained always bold determines the strength of her compositions: decisive line, defined form, and intense color. Similarly, she constructs the face with simple planes and shapes of vibrant, complementary hues. Her's is not an act of mere faithful representation or portraying likeness. As she states, "My portraits go beyond resemblance. I want to express the mood and atmosphere of my subject with fantasy, freedom, and in the use of color."

ESPERANZA LEÓN

East Hampton, New York

September 2014

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