From New York to Noto

Featured image
Looking towards the Manhattan skyline from the New Jersey Turnpike. Photo: JH.

Monday, March 25, 2024. A heavy storm rain began late on Friday evening and rained and flooded lots of areas throughout Saturday, and it was cold. But then on Sunday the Sun came out and flooded the streets and washed and shined the cars. And it was also very cold.

The West Side Highway was flooded by early Saturday afternoon.

Artists’ Lives. Peter Heywood, an artist, a Brit, who is a friend and partner of Shirley Lord, flew off a couple of weeks ago to the baroque capital of Noto in Sicily where he has an olive farm (my word for it) where he makes “some of the best olive oil in the country” according to many New York restaurateurs.

Peter traveled to Noto — which I’m told is becoming the Saint-Tropez of Italy thanks in part to the success of the TV series The White Lotus — to set up and open the largest exhibition painting of his life: “From New York to Noto.”

Featuring 57 paintings, it includes his acclaimed Reflections series. The exhibition also includes several of New York’s landmark buildings “in reflection” as well as a series of New York dancers in action.

Exhibition views from Peter’s show, From New York to Noto, at Sala Gagliardi.
A corner of one of the five the exhibition rooms, which includes a total of 57 of Peter’s paintings. The show runs through November 2024.

More exhibition views from Peter’s show …

L. to r.: The Plaza Reflected in Apple Cube; Reflection in No 9 West 57th Street, New York.

Brownstone Reflected.

L. to r.: Red Forest and Dappled Light.

Noto is a very old village on the Mediterranean in Sicily. Aside from its citrus, almond, and olive groves a, it is very popular with the rich and the famous as a resort. Madonna chose Noto for her big birthday bash last year. Mick Jagger recently boughat a home there. Thousands are expected to attend the exhibition which will remain until November in the grand Gagliardi Palacio.

I love the photos of Noto which I was vaguely familiar with when I traveled with the Ford sisters on their Summer yachting on the Mediterranean twenty years ago. It always reminded me of Southern California in one way, but then countrified in the Old World way which makes it naturally elegant which is all Nature.

A sweeping view of Noto’s historic center.
The spectacular facade of the church of San Domenico.
Noto Cathedral, completed, coincidentally, the same year we declared our independence.
A former noble palace, Sala Gagliardi, was the location of Peter’s exhibition.
The view from the terrace of Sala Gagliardi, overlooking Noto and the domes of the Noto Cathedral.

The opening came by invitation of Noto’s tourist-conscious Mayor Dr. Corrado Figura. Last night, best selling novelist Maria Giovanni Mirado co-hosted the opening night party with the artist. Many personalities, including mayors, bigwig industrialists and bankers, and American palacio owners who moved to Noto (as opposed to Palm Beach) flew in from Rome and Milan making it altogether a notable occasion!

Born in Yorkshire in 1944, Peter taught Math and Physics for 30 years while devoting the majority of his free time to painting. In 1995, he was voted Britain’s Best Teacher in a national newspaper, and also encouraged by a successful show at the Aberbach Fine Art Gallery in London’s Savile Row. It was then that he made a “major” decision to become a full time painter.

Peter Heywood meeting with the Mayor of Noto, Corrado Figura.

Because we’ve been friends through Shirley for some time and so I have been aware of his work it’s fascinating to see how he handles his subjects. His paintings of the NYC Buildings of one generation reflected on a building across the avenue reflected in his late 20th century silvery metal colored buildings have many levels for the eye and the mind. And yet his paintings of the dancers looks like it could break into film, except it’s something higher.

The man is still teaching. The eye for details is necessary to both the artist and the teacher. It is now on exhibit in the most agreeable village called Noto in the beautiful land of Sicily; Peace at Last. If you have the good fortune to be near that place, take it in. It will leave you with the pleasure of much to think about.

Dott. Corrado Figura, Mayor of Noto, Shirley Lord, Maria Giovanni Mirano, and Peter Heywood at last night’s opening reception of Peter’s show, From New York to Noto.
Peter greeting friends on opening night.

Guests browsing the exhibition.

Peter points out a detail in The Plaza Reflected in Apple Cube.

The artist making the rounds …

Goodnight Noto!

Recent Posts