Verne Collection to Host Unique Works by Daniel Kelly

click to enlarge Daniel Kelly’s Beauty and Chaos, oil and acrylic on Nepalese paper, Japanese lacquer ware and large folding fan.
Daniel Kelly’s Beauty and Chaos, oil and acrylic on Nepalese paper, Japanese lacquer ware and large folding fan.
Located on Murray Hill Road in Little Italy, the Verne Collection has specialized in Japanese painting and printmaking for decades. This intimate gallery typically only hosts one exhibition in Cleveland each year, and Verne Collection president Michael Verne spends a large portion of the year traveling to prestigious art fairs around the country, as well as many trips to Japan. The first exhibition since co-founder Mitzie Verne (James Franco’s grandmother) passed away this spring, Daniel Kelly’s Beauty and Chaos opens with a free public reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. this Saturday, June 25. Kelly will be in the gallery for the reception, and again at 2 p.m. on Sunday for a very special gallery talk dedicated to the collection’s late co-founder.

Born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Kelly grew up in Great Falls, Montana, and has lived in Kyoto, Japan, for more than 35 years. His work resides in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum, MOMA, the British Museum, the Smithsonian and more than twenty other major institutions.

“His landscape prints like 'Buttercups' and 'Rolling In' were instant hits in 1982 and 1983,” says Michael Verne. “The Verne Collection will be featuring some of the last early landscape watercolors that he created in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These watercolors have never been seen in a gallery exhibition in the United States.”

Hollis Goodall, the Curator of Japanese Art at the L.A. County Museum, wrote in the introduction of Kelly’s book Daniel Kelly: An American Artist In Japan: “A seminal event in Kelly’s visual development came in the early 1980s when he visited the renowned annual midsummer festival for the Gion Shrine in Kyoto and was struck by the beauty of large paper lanterns mounted under oiled- paper umbrellas. He compared looking up at the lanterns from ground level to looking up a dress.” Daniel Kelly’s Beauty and Chaos at the Verne Collection includes two of these very early lantern paintings.

“The feature of this exhibition is a large oil and acrylic painting on Nepalese paper, Japanese lacquer ware and large folding fan called 'Beauty and Chaos,'” explains Verne. “Also featured will be a large contemporary landscape painting based on Daniel’s early work, a majestic and rich painting from his ceramic series called In 'The Pines' and some wonderful early small nude watercolors that were created in the 1980s. The Verne Gallery is the only place in the world you can see these unique works from the present and the past by Daniel Kelly.”

Kelly’s relationship with the Verne Collection spans more than three decades, and the Verne Collection has represented Kelly’s work at countless prestigious fine art and print fairs all over the country.

“I met Daniel Kelly 34 years ago on a cold snowy day in February,” says Verne. “He had a stopover in the Cleveland airport and called me a few days earlier to see if I wanted to look at his work. There was no way to get him back to the gallery that day so we lined up the prints and paintings at an empty gate along the window looking out at the airplanes. When I turned around about an hour later over 100 people were looking at his work. They literally stopped in the aisles. As I began to show Daniel’s work in some of the most prestigious art shows in the United States, the same thing happened in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco and every city we exhibited in. Except at these shows, thousands and tens of thousands stopped in the aisle.”

During the opening reception, free parking is available in lot #47 on Murray Hill Rd. near the old Greenhouse Restaurant. The following day, Daniel Kelly will discuss his work during a gallery talk at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 26. Entitled “This One’s For Mitzie,” the talk is dedicated to Verne Gallery co-founder Mitzie Verne, who passed away this spring.

“In 1953, my mom, Mitzie Verne (1922-2016) established the Verne Gallery,” Verne explains. “She was a pioneer in the world of Japanese prints and paintings in the United States."

After the weekend, Beauty and Chaos remains on view during regular business hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

(Verne Gallery) 2207 Murray Hill Rd., 216-231-8866,

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