the correlation of Art & Music
"Everything is in readiness. The studio is packed with spectators. The stereo speakers flanking the imposing 4-by-6 foot canvas await the press of a button. The stocky, white-haired man stands back from the canvas, cocks his head and raises his arms as solemnly as a conductor. In his right hand, he holds a piece of pastel chalk.
'Dum-Dum-Dum-Da,' thunder the opening notes from the Fifth Symphony [by Beethoven], and he begins to draw -- first slowly, then quickly. The untamed chalk lines flare outward from the center of the canvas like an exploding star. Roll over Beethoven, Gustav Rehberger is at it again.
The above scene is one that Rehberger, who came to America from Austria at age 13, repeats annually on Beethoven's birthday. It is personal tribute to The Master, one he has rendered 11 times. But Rehberger has had lots of practice. To celebrate the composer's bicentennial in 1970 he produced a series of 50 paintings and drawings on the theme of '"The Spirit of Beethoven.'"
"'The first time I heard the Fifth Symphony was in the early 30's,' Rehberger recalled. 'It was never the same after that. Beethoven and I are one.' Indeed, with his compact, energertic figure and his hair parted in the middle, he does resemble Beethoven. As he darts back and forth, a skull-like configuration begins to take shape on the canvas.
The audience, which has been smiling in a bemused manner, now looks on with interest. Rehberger has 29 minutes to finish the portrait, giving the session the elements of good drama -- a developing theme with suspense. It's the type of thing that Rehberger thrives on, which is to say it represents form, movement, expression and freedom, the cornerstones of his artistic philosophy."
"Now, the majestic strains of the Fifth are cloaked in absolute silence. The skull has metamorphosed into the determined face seen on millions of busts. The disheveled hair projects hues of black, brown, olive and orange. The colors are not a product of the occasion, an expedient measure. They permeate Rehberger's work as menacing skies and primordial soup besieging islands of heroic, muscled humanity. A pagan, mythological vision."
"There is less than five minutes to finish Beethoven's portrait. The basics are there. The massive, furrowed brow and the tense facial muscles. The mouth is grimly set. Only the eyes remain. 'I'll bet you $10 he does the eyes last,' whispers an onlooker. A woman who had earlier nodded vigorously to the force of the music raises a hand to her face. Will he complete it? The Fifth seems to assume cosmic proportion in the power and majesty of its denouement. Everyone is quiet as Rehberger continues to work. But he doesn't touch the eyes.
When it ends, the crowd erupts in applause, with spectators shouting, 'Bravo! Bravo!' Rehberger smiles. The portrait is complete, except for the eyes. They are vast in their emptiness. But then, that's undoubtedly the way the artist wanted it. Pupils and eyelids and irises are human, limiting. This way, when you look into Beethoven's eyes, you can see forever."
Eskes, Dave. "Beethoven Powers Sweep of Inspired Artist's Brush." The Phoenix Gazette. December 28, 1983
"Man & Horse" - The Art Students League of New York
"Beethoven" - The Art Students League of New York
"Napoleon on Horseback" - The French Cultural Center, Boston
"Figure Demo" PLUS "Art & MUSIC" - Pastel Society of America
"Apocalypse" - Artisan's Studio-Gallery, Dallas, TX
"Beethoven" Tribute - The Scottsdale Artists' School
Gustav Rehberger pays tribute to Ludwig van Beethoven by creating one of his magnificent pastels of the great master while accompanied by Beethoven's 5th Symphony. This 3-minute clip of the 29-minute performance was televised by KTVK-TV, a local broadcast affiliate.
XXXII Internationales Beethovenfest
Gustav Rehberger was invited by the city of Bonn, West Germany to do his famed Beethoven performance, correlating art and music for the XXXII Internationales Beethovenfest, Bonn, September 7-29, 1986. Rehberger's performance was accompanied by Beethoven's Fifth Symphony in the outdoor Marktplatz of Bonn on September 13, 1986.
"Apocalypse" - Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, Staten Island, Ny
During this 45-minute Gala performance benefiting the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in Staten Island, New York, Gustav Rehberger creates one of his magnificent pastels of his favorite subject, the horse, while being accompanied by 'Die Walkure: The Ride of the Valkyries' by Wagner, 'Pines of Rome' by Respighi, 'Siegfried's Death and Funeral March' by Wagner, 'The Firebird' by Stravinsky and the '1812 Overture' by Tchaikovsky.
"The Spirit of Beethoven" - Carnegie Hall, New York
Sketch by Jerry LoFaro
While a student of Rehberger's at The Art Students League of New York, Jerry LoFaro inked this sketch of Rehberger in 1981 during an Art & Music performance accompanied by Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries." Mr. LoFaro attributes "his most valuable lessons" to figure drawing classes with the "legendary" Gustav Rehberger at The Art Students League of New York.