History Becomes Art
(1973 Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon)
Oil and paper on wood panel, 23″ x 41″, unframed
Thomas Arvid is painting the famous 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars on old newspaper articles.
Thomas Arvid possesses an unerring ability to refine a moment. In doing so he captures our wonder and has become an art world phenomenon. Art Business News (May 2003) credits him with “launching a major art trend . . .” with his oversized still life compositions of wine and the rituals surrounding it. Arvid astounds viewers with the intricate details of his images and with his mastery of light, depth, and reflection.
The magic of his painting is in Arvid’s ability to visualize and chronicle an entire scene beyond the frame – to tell a story of enjoyment and the good life – using lush color and adroit composition. Arvid is passionate about art and wine: a collector of both, he strives to capture the pleasure of a life well-lived on each canvas. An Atlanta resident and fresh-faced father of two young sons, the self-taught artist insists that wine should be approachable; his paintings are an embodiment of the casual way that we enjoy wine today. He is an appealing role model for a lifestyle of easy elegance and unpretentious charm.
Arvid’s approach to wine and painting is surprising, given his background as a Detroit native raised to parlay his inherent artistic talent into a secure job in the industrial complex. Instead, Arvid made the leap into pursuing his art as a career, and with the support of his art historian wife and inspiration garnered during a backpacking trip through Europe, he began painting full time.
Drawn to wine by his focus on the color red, Arvid knew he had discovered something when his paintings featuring red wine were being purchased before they were finished. Arvid is awed by the response to his work, “Wine is a great subject because people are familiar with it; they really connect to it. My paintings are really the landscapes between people sharing wine – it’s amazing that my collectors find personal fulfillment in my work, especially when I’m just doing what I love.”
The aura surrounding Arvid’s work is palpable. His international appeal has created such demand that his work is represented by over 50 elite art galleries in the US, Canada, and Japan; collectors are willing to wait years for one of his originals. Influential wineries such as Silver Oak Cellars, Far Niente, and Diamond Creek Winery collect Arvids because he translates the craftsmanship of wine to canvas. Doug Shafer, of Shafer Family Vineyards, likens Arvid’s skill to that of a winemaker, “Arvid’s style is big and bold, with enough selected detail and softness to create a sense of balance . . . this blend of elements is precisely what winemakers hope to bring to their top vintages.”
Today, Thomas Arvid and his wife, Vanessa, head Thomas Arvid Fine Art, Inc., one of the most successful boutique art publishing companies in the country. Founded in 2000, the company distributes Arvid’s limited editions and originals across the country and the world. In 2004 they released a retrospective of Arvid’s work, “Arvid: Redefining the Modern Still Life,” that traces the development of Arvid’s style from its beginnings a decade ago to the lifestyle it is today. The book is a fitting chronicle to illustrate one of Arvid’s favorite phrases, “Life without art is like dinner without wine. Why bother?”