Tom Fairs, untitled, 2004, pencil on paper, 5 1/2 x 4 1/8".

Tom Fairs

Kerry Schuss

Tom Fairs, untitled, 2004, pencil on paper, 5 1/2 x 4 1/8".

If you’re looking for someone who maintained the supposedly old-fashioned ideal—a cynic would call it the myth—of the pure artist who is focused solely on the work itself, without a thought of fame, fashion, or money, you could do worse than to check out Tom Fairs. When Fairs died in 2007, he was essentially unknown. A lifelong Londoner born in 1925, he studied stained-glass design and then became a teacher of drawing and theater design. Only after his retirement in 1987, apparently, did he begin to focus on painting. His ideal was Pierre Bonnard. He never had a one-person show, exhibiting his work primarily in the Royal Academy of Art’s annual summer exhibitions—as good a way to hide in plain sight as any, I’d say.

Unfortunately, New Yorkers have yet to get a firsthand look at Fairs’s paintings, but this second posthumous exhibition of his works on paper is enough

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