SURREY — Acclaimed painter Robert Genn has begun the "sad but fun" process of sorting through a lifetime of his work.
The task has been set in motion by this: Pancreatic cancer has invaded the body of the artist, who lives at Crescent Beach.
Last Friday (Oct. 25), Genn broke news of his health condition to readers of his popular Twice-Weekly Letters, posted at www.painterskeys.com and also emailed to tens of thousands of subscribers. In a post titled "The Bomb," Genn says the conversation with his family doctor - also a friend and neighbour who came to the artist's studio on a recent Saturday morning to tell him the results of his CAT scan - can be summed up in five words: "Pancreatic cancer - perhaps a year."
"Carol (his wife) and our kids David, Sara and James were informed right away," Genn wrote. "Naturally, they are all rallying around and we are off to oncologists and specialists to see if anything might be done. I didn't have the intention of leaving the planet so soon."
Genn, 77, is noted for his landscape paintings. He has written three books and has also snapped more than 165,000 photographs around the world as reference material for his many oils, acrylics, drawings, lithos, serigraphs and other works. Sara, herself an artist who now lives in New York, is helping her father divide his work into "destroy," "sign" and "keep" categories.
Wrote Genn: "Having been through similar situations with several artists who happened to be dear friends, one of my concerns is that substandard Robert Genn paintings don't get out onto the market.... For years I've been telling artists to do it now, not later. Today we find ourselves doing it now."
Many works of sentimental value are for family and friends, Genn noted, while others will "march out of the studio over time." Genn says he will cancel speeches and appearances over the next few months.
"We've got too much to do right here," he wrote.
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