Theodore Nicolai Lukits: The Aesthetics of Beauty

By incorporating decorative motifs with influences from numerous other artistic traditions, this master artist brought his paintings to an elevated level of beauty.

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, I visited Elaine and Peter Adams, a couple who have done much to advance representational art in California. The beauty of their home, located among the leafy rolling hills of Pasadena, stopped me dead in my tracks. The mix of antiques, fine art, and other decorative elements creates an incredible harmonious ambiance. But one item in their collection stood out—not an easy feat in this setting. It was a painting of a woman of Asian descent dressed in ceremonial attire. Dramatic lighting, rich compositional effects, and vibrant coloring lent the work an overarching decorative sensibility, but the painting also evinced a firm grasp of academic principles. This juxtaposition of the real and the unreal left me questioning the artist’s intent—clearly the painter was not interested only in depicting the real world.

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Theodore Nicolai Lukits/ The Aethetics of Beauty