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artfull Corners, George Deem Seven Vermeer rooms with a view of art history THE BOSTON ATHENAEUM HONORS THE CHEEKY PAINTINGS OF GEORGE DEEM WITH THE FIRST MAJOR MUSEUM EXHIBITION OF HIS WORKS SINCE HIS DEATH. by jessica laniewski A ll artists take inspiration from those who worked before them, but none with the precision and wit of painter George Deem. Considered a Pop artist early in his career, Deem defied classification with his uncanny ability to take pieces of well-known paintings and recreate their light and feel, then meld them with scenes from other great works. The painter pulled inspira- tion from the paintings of renowned artists including John Singer Sargent, Gilbert Stuart, and Johannes Vermeer. The Boston Athenaeum is now holding an exhibit of 30 of Deem's works in oil on canvas, wood panel, linen, and paper. In Seven Vermeer Corners (1999), Deem deftly reproduced segments from seven of the Dutch artist's memorable paintings on one canvas without the figures for which the Old Master was so well known. Deem developed his interest in the classics in the 1950s while stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, a time when he had the opportunity to tour museums in London, Paris, Venice, and Florence. Although he went on to work closely with teachers who also taught the future leaders of the Pop Art and Abstract Expressionist movements in the US at The Art Institute of Chicago, he never let go of his fascination with great paintings of the past. "George Deem: The Art of Art History" runs through September 1 at the Boston Athenaeum. 10 1/2 Beacon St., 617-227-0270; BC 66

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