Edward HalpernMy Passion

Edward L Halpern Artist  

Artist at heart, businessman at core

By SHAWN SHINNEMAN - sshinneman@nwherald.com
Posted:  07/08/2010 5:30 AM 1st page, section B, NW Herald McHenry, Il


Edward Halpern is dabbing the first vibrant colors onto the sketch he’s drawn on a canvas in his Spring Grove studio – yellow on a few small lilies in the foreground, then long strokes of a rich green to give the grass a moist, thriving feel.

Halpern always has had a deep interest in art, but it’s just in the past couple of years that he’s made it his career. He took classes at The Art Institute of Chicago when he was 18. That was more than 60 years ago.

Halpern now is starting his 10th business at 80 years old, creating paintings in the basement of his Spring Grove home. He’s selling them from his website now, but he’s hoping to have dealers selling them across the country in six months to a year.

“I should have a fairly viable business going,” he said.

Halpern  has been a businessman nearly his whole life. In the mid-1960s and early 1970s, he owned nine Chicago parking garages and four jewelry stores. He helped develop a company that manufactured pillows for airline companies and later for hospitals and nursing homes. And there have been other fruitful business endeavors.

Now he’s basing his latest business off his own creative work, marketing a product he says is high quality at a price he says is a deal.

And he’s doing it with a process called giclee – pronounced zee-clay. The process allows paintings to be reproduced with more vibrant colors than a typical print. Halpern finishes an oil painting, then ships it off to a company in Canada that makes the giclee.

Other than texture, it is tough to differentiate between the multiple giclee paintings in Halpern’s office and the original oil paintings hanging on his walls. Yet, Halpern said, the giclees can be sold at prices similar to prints – about $150 to $200 for a 16-by-20-inch painting.

That’s a bargain compared with the price of original oil paintings, which artists often price between $2,000 and $10,000.

“I would prefer to sell my works for a lot less money and have a much wider marketing area to cover, and be able to bring in more and more people in order for them to be able to enjoy art,” he said.

Halpern has been greatly affected by the arts over the years. He and his wife of 56 years, Dianne, always have been theater-goers. They have a passion for collecting books. Their house contains more than 4,000 – many of them classic, signed editions, Halpern said.

So Halpern now wants to contribute, to evoke feelings in others through his work. It’s not about the money anymore, he said. He wants to make people think.

“One hand washes another in this world,” he said.

Halpern had the vision for the piece he’s working on about a month ago. It’s a man standing on a boat, paddling down a stream. He seems to be enjoying the scenery around him – the water is still and reflects a thick layer of trees in the distance.

“People tell me I should be in a hurry at my age,” Halpern said. “I say, ‘No, I’m in no hurry at all.’”

To learn more

To see Edward Halpern’s works, visit www.edwardhalpernartist.com.