Obit: Gino Hollander
It is with extremely saddened hearts that we announce our beloved father, the American artist Gino Hollander, suddenly passed away on Aug. 27 in Newport Beach, California, with his wife Barbara (Barbi) and close family by his side. He was 91.
Gino Hollander had a full, rich and fiercely individualistic artistic life. He was part of the original 10th Mountain Brigade serving in the Italian campaign of World War II and was twice wounded, and decorated. He did extensive interviews for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on his years and experiences in the 10th Mountain.
After leaving his family business of A. Hollander & Sons, he moved to Greenwich Village, New York City, in the 1950s where he met his second wife Barbi and joined her in the world of documentary and commercial filmmaking.
In the early 1960s Barbi re-branded Eugene Forman Hollander as “Gino,” and he decided to leave the film field and taught himself to paint. He developed his own style of “figurative abstract expressionism” and opened the first of many Hollander Galleries, on Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village.
A year later, Gino moved his young family to Spain, landing on the Costa del Sol in October 1962. They settled on the outskirts of the budding Mediterranean coastal town of Torremolinos, where he soon opened an art gallery. He opened another in Marbella, and thus began his 30-year love affair with Spain.
Gino immersed himself fully into Spanish life and culture. He instantly fell in love with the world of “toreo,” or bullfighting, and also in the Spanish lure of horse riding. The family traveled to Pamplona to run with the bulls “a la Hemingway,” and also began taking part in the horse fairs in Malaga and Sevilla. In 1973, Gino and his children crossed the length of Spain on horseback traveling from Malaga to Pamplona. Gino began exploring archaeological sites in southern Spain and particularly was enchanted with Cueva De la Pileta outside Ronda. The family skied in the nearby Sierra Nevada outside Granada.
In the late 1960s he built his dream house, Cortijo de Las Yeguas, inland from the Costa del Sol, outside the pueblo of Pizarra. Gino built a personal museum in the home where visitors were encouraged to touch, feel and share in Spain’s cultural past. His vast collection of artifacts ranged from stone flints of the pre-historic ages to Roman-era glass and pottery, up to more current antique Spanish furniture — all mixed with his paintings and smaller works on paper. The Hollander Museo was given to the town of Pizarra where the collection continues on display.
He opened other Hollander Galleries through the years on Madison Avenue in New York City, and then in Soho on West Broadway, in London, Toronto, Switzerland, Aspen and currently in Santa Fe, managed by his daughter Siri Hollander.
Gino and Barbi left southern Spain in the early 1990s, choosing to live in the western U.S. to be closer to their children. He settled in Aspen, Colorado, home of his memories while serving in the famed 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale. He immediately fell in love with the high country of the Rocky Mountains. He took some 500 trips into the backcountry, frequently camping adjacent to his snowmobile at elevations above 10,000 feet. He continued skiing well into his 70s, and when the snows melted, he turned to tennis, a passion he always excelled at.
He was an avid player as a teenager, winning titles in New Jersey, and played for years at Lew Hoad’s Campo de Tenis Center in Fuengirola, Spain, as well as having a long-standing tennis game with television journalist Morley Safer. Gino continued playing tennis well into his 80s, often times hitting a ball while connected to an oxygen tank in a backpack.
After 19 years as a fixture in Aspen, Gino moved at his doctor’s insistence down to sea level, settling in Ojai, California — a place once again well suited to his individual spirit and love of wilderness. Gino and Barbi lived and painted in Ojai with family constantly visiting for some six years before moving to Newport Beach earlier this year. The doors to their animal filled homes were always open, and Gino would end up sketching anyone in his vision, often giving away his works to those who visited. He contributed untold canvases to benefit many charities including National Jewish Health and Smile Train. Donations in Gino’s memory can be made to National Jewish Health Of Denver or to SmileTrain.
Gino Hollander was an extremely prolific artist, but above all a man, a father and a grandfather, who will be remembered, cherished and loved as a person determined who set his own direction, never settling for anything less than expressing himself in a direct link via his hands onto his expressive canvases.
He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and by those he inspired to follow their dreams with the same simple logic that he embodied throughout his long life of adventures — to enjoy life.
Submitted by Jim Hollander, Lise Hollander Cohen, Siri Hollander and Scott Hollander