John Register

American, 1936–1996


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In 1972 John Register, a successful advertising art director at McCaffrey and McCall, famously stood up from a big client meeting and announced he had "a dentist appointment" never to return to advertising. It was from that moment on that he dedicated himself to painting as a full-time career and passion. The family drove across the country in a 1966 Volvo with two cats and a Doberman, camping along the way. He photographed the cities they passed through. Register said, "I look for offbeat beauty. I don't know what I'm looking for until I find it. There are things so ugly that I can't paint them. Sometimes I get depressed by that city, and by other cities I visit. But I like the patina of things that have been battered by life.” John Register's vision of isolated streets, empty coffee shops, long shadows, old hotels, and bus stations "represent a haunting stillness tinged with regret and hope", wrote Barnaby Conrad in John Register Persistent Observer. Register was born with a genetic kidney disease that he battled heroically until his death in 1996 at the tragically young age of 57. In many of John Register's paintings, one can feel the loneliness of man's existence; especially in the face of sickness and an imminent death.

Register was born 1939 in New York City, New York and died in 1996 in Malibu, California.

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