Works from the Collection of Emanuel and Linda Wright
New York in the early 1950s was fertile ground for a new creative period in America. Writers, artists, actors and musicians all interacted and shared ideas in the East Village.
In the late 1940s, Emanuel Wright had just completed his service as a radio operator for the merchant marines in World War II and he and his wife, Linda settled into life in New York City. Living in Peter Cooper Village, they socialized with creative people such as Ben Gazzara, Arthur Miller, John Forsyth and Walter Matthau. While attending classes at Cooper Union, Emanuel Wright met Leo Amino and the two would become lifelong friends. Over the years, the Wrights amassed the most important private collection of Amino artworks, eventually giving three works to the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The Wrights’ collection of more than fifty works was largely acquired directly from the artist at his Watt Street studio where Amino created art in his kitchen, the limitations of which accounts for the intimate scale of his artistic output at the time. By 1959 the Amino family was splitting their time between New York and New Jersey and the Wrights had decamped for the Garden State as well. Despite the change of locale, the Wrights and the Aminos continued to be friends. Amino was an excellent cook and would host the Wrights often at his home in Glen Gardner. If skewers were needed for a barbecue or if a pickle fork was needed for condiments, Amino would carve them.
Linda Wright described Amino as an artist who “found beauty where there was no beauty.” The Wrights filled their home with Amino’s art, his works bringing aesthetic pleasure and serving as memories of the time of their creation.