'Schooner Yacht AMERICA'
Born in Bay Shore, Long Island, NY in 1931, Wagner
began painting when he was five years old. The skill he lacked in verbal
communication became the drive that sharpened the ability that otherwise
might have been overlooked. His formal art training was completed at
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and Pratt Institute, followed by a
European Fellowship Grant for postgraduate work at the Rijksmuseum School
in Amsterdam, Holland.
Like many well-known painters before him, Wagner
began his career in commercial illustration. He had the opportunity to
produce a great volume of work, which contributed to the development of a
very direct style. There is a presence, an intimacy that draws his viewers
into the atmosphere of his art. At the 1988 Mystic International
Exhibition, where he won an Award of Excellence, John Stobart commented,
"This work is fresh and full of vitality. It has a uniqueness and powerful
simplicity, and he does it in a way that hasn't been done before."
Marine paintings by Wagner are in
private collections, hotels and corporate offices around the world. He was
included in that fortunate company of artists whose work sold as fast as
it could be produced.
Moving to England in 1994, Wagner was invited by the
Royal Exchange Art Gallery in London to exhibit his work in three separate
one-man shows. His last major work was commissioned by the Royal
Engineers, and it was officially presented by their Patron HRH The Duke of
Edinburgh in May 1996.
"I consider my work impressionistic realism," Wagner
said. "There is only realism. Abstract expression is simply realism in a
microscope. The important thing is that what I do be good art. I hope with
all my heart, time will prove that it is."