Donna Summer: A Definition of an Era
Many of us have mourned the loss of the original Queen of the Disco era, Donna Summer. She was talented and prolific enough to leave us with a string of hits to last for the better part of an old school night in the club: Last Dance, Hard For the Money, On the Radio, Enough is Enough, Hot Stuff, Bad Girls, Love To Love You Baby and one of my favorites in tempo (and video) I Feel Love.
A Star on Stage and On Canvas
Donna Summer, sadly, left us this past May, overcome by her battle with lung cancer, which is a tougher foe to endure than many of us actually get to see in real life. But her final appearances showed her displaying poise and grace, attributes that escape many musical professionals of current day. In her passing she also leaves the art world a string of successes that some may argue were impressive as her work on the stage.
New York Art Expo. Working with world-renowned artisan Jean Pierre Remond, she created fine art
lithographs at the American Atelier in Manhattan. These signed and numbered lithographs were
exhibited in one-person exhibitions in Atlantic City, San Diego, New York, Chicago, Beverly Hills
and Bal Harbor, Florida from 1990 to 1992.
A one-person exhibition of her paintings and lithographs was hosted by the Bennett Gallery in
Nashville in 1995, and a show of her work was held at the Tennessee State Museum in 1998. In
1999, her paintings were included in Steven Spielberg’s Starbright Foundation Tour of Japan. In
1999, Summer was one of the artists included in the “American Century Exhibit” at the Whitney
Museum in New York. There, paintings “Star Man” and “Brooklyn’s Eyes” were exhibited, along
with lithographs “Jazz Man” and “Hard for the Money”. In 2001, Summer’s art was presented by
special engagement at Sotheby’s.
Her artwork has raised contributions for and awareness of numerous charitable causes including:
The Bogart Pediatric Research Foundation for Cancer, Leukemia & AIDS, The St. Jude Foundation,
Make-A-Wish Foundation, Project Angel Food/Divine Design, Race to Erase MS Foundation,
M.A.D.D., T. J. Martell Foundation and The Minnie Pearl Foundation.
Donna Summer sold her first painting for $38,000 and claimed to have made up to $1,000,000 in art sales overall. Most of her pieces ranged from $7000 to $75,000. Her abstract style oil paintings have been described as Post-Impressionism and Neo-Primitivist.
Soul Trains iconic conductor Don Cornelius’ introduction of Donna Summer is priceless and pretty much sums it up. Before a generation was swayed by the likes of Madonna, Whitney and others, the globe had been wrapped several times over by the magic of Donna Summer. Enjoy!