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KANTAR FINE ARTS

KANTAR FINE ARTS specializes in modern and contemporary art, for the home environment or the business, in a broad range of media, including oil painting, works on paper, sculpture, ceramics and photography. Artists represented by Kantar Fine Arts are generally from New England; the group also includes artists from Israel and Italy. Kantar Fine Arts is directed by Constance G. Kantar, a collector and dealer for many years, with an M.A. in Fine Arts from Harvard University.

MEET CONSTANCE G. KANTAR
Kantar Fine Arts
By Elaine Dohan

Owner and director of Kantar Fine Arts Gallery in Newton, Constance Kantar credits her parents with instilling the love of beauty which has enriched her life.

“I grew up in a home filled with art. My parents were major collectors. My father, Samuel Glaser, was an architect with a wonderful eye for art. We were surrounded by paintings, sculpture and books by such greats as Degas, Chagall, Picasso, and Henry Moore. When we were children my brother, sister and I would gather around the table to examine a new, wonderful art book my dad had just brought home. We knew that this was a special event.” Her family, including actors, filmmakers and photographers are all passionate collectors.

Kantar moved to Newton in 7th grade. She attended the old Weeks Junior High School and Newton High School. It was at Weeks that she first met William Kantar. They went on to high school and college together and married in 1960. From the beginning, they shared a love of fine art. Paying $30 per month for three months, they purchased their first piece, a lithograph by Odilon Redon, while Billy was a resident in psychiatry.

Kantar majored in government as an undergraduate at Radcliffe and took many classes in fine arts. She holds a Master’s in Fine Arts from Harvard University.

She began her career as a political activist during the Vietnam War, first organizing and working for candidates on the state and national level, including Robert Drinan, Bill Clinton and Al Gore. She was a delegate for Steve Grossman to the 2002 state convention and is on the Democratic City Committee.

Before opening her gallery, Kantar was president and general manager of the Newton Symphony Orchestra for twenty-five years. While in that position she initiated the Art for Music program, in which an established artist was commissioned yearly to create a print or drawing to be produced in a limited edition. This piece of art, “enhanced the image of the symphony, in addition to providing revenue for the artist and the orchestra.”

Constance G. Kantar opened Kantar Fine Arts seven years ago in her 100-year-old home in Newton. The Kantars have raised their four children and “many litters of Shelties” in that house. After completing his medical education, Dr. Kantar, a psychiatrist, opened his professional office there as well.

Initially, Kantar used the first floor living space as a gallery, removing her own collection to hang the work of artists she represented. “It worked very well. Viewers could see a piece in the context of a home. They saw that you don’t need just the ‘right’ furniture or colors.” Two years ago, a wing, including gallery space which opens onto a four season garden, was added.

All of the art exhibited at Kantar Fine Arts is museum quality. Some pieces are from Kantar’s personal collection. In addition, she represents a number of artists, mostly from New England. Some are people whose work is already well recognized; others are emerging artists who “are creating the outstanding work of the future.”

Kantar’s focus is to make excellent contemporary art available to people in the Greater Boston area. She hopes to offer those who visit her gallery an environment in which they can achieve a “sense of comfort. Viewing art should be an uplifting, mind stretching experience.”

In addition, Connie Kantar shares the skill and knowledge gained through her multi-faceted education. “A gallery owner,” she says, “should offer a mini course to give each visitor an understanding of what is special about the work. A great piece of art,” she explains, “is a masterful handling of the chosen material to communicate with the viewer through color, line, texture and/or composition.”

Ms. Kantar is quiet and delicate with startling blue eyes that sparkle when she speaks about her collection. Pointing to various pieces, she directs the viewer to observe a fish with “flowing, lyrical lines” and a “surface patina giving a sense of the ancient,” or the “tension between the turn of a head and the legs” created by a few brushstrokes in a painting, or a bird with “wings that cup the air.”

Even viewers who have no initial reaction are helped to develop a greater awareness of what they are seeing. “Opening the gallery,” she says, “links me to a great family tradition. I want to open the doors of the art world to the community, showing people how wonderful it is to live with a great work. Collecting art is within the reach of everyone.”

Reprinted by permission from
The Middlesex Beat, March 2003


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