Bennett’s Vintage Book Of Paintings (Review)

The slightly oversized book jutted out from the others on the shelf.  I recognized the famous face and the name “Tony” partially hidden by the adjacent books.  Right away, I knew the volume was coming home with me.TonyBennett-01

The first pages reveal a short biography of Anthony Dominick Benedetto who was born in Queens, New York on August 3, 1926.  Early on, his two great talents were encouraged by family and friends.  Benedetto is world famous for his sonorous singing voice, and less famous for his work with pencils and brushes.

Benedetto was drafted into the US Army in late 1944 and served as an infantryman to the 255th Regiment of the 63rd Infantry Division. His unit battled across France and Germany. In the spring of 1945, Benedetto was on the front line as Nazi forces struggled in vain to save their dying Reich. Benedetto narrowly cheated death several times. After World War Two he was so moved as to become a pacifist.

After his Army discharge, Benedetto returned to New York City to play gigs in Greenwich Village.  Pearl Bailey encountered him at one of the clubs and liked his style so much that she recommended him to Bob Hope.  Benedetto introduced himself to the comedian as Anthony Dominick Benedetto.  Hope quickly responded with, “That’s too long for the marquee. Let’s call you Tony Bennett.” Soon, Bennett was part TonyBennett-02of Hope’s show along with Les Brown’s band and Jane Russell. In 1952, Bennett signed with Columbia Records. Soon he was off and running to worldwide fame and acclaim.

Bennett is still relevant in the world of music.  In 2010, he sang, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” before the third inning of Game 1 of the World Series at the Giant’s AT&T Park. During the 7th Inning Stretch he sang “God Bless America”. He also made an appearance at the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” in the nation’s capitol city.

In 2011, Bennett’s album Duets II was released. On the recording, he performs various techniques with such stars as Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, and Lady Gaga.

Fast forward to this year, Bennett released the album The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern. He appeared once again at the World Series when he sang “America the Beautiful” before the fifth game between the Royals and the Mets at Citi Field.

So, what about the other side of Tony Bennett?  The master painter’s amazing works are shared within the covers of What My Heart Has Seen. The now vintage book, that was published in 1996, provides a large sample of Bennett’s creative visual talent.  The artist who signs his works with the name, Benedetto, paints with oils and watercolors. His drawings are beautifully created with pencil. TonyBennett-03

His book showcases his various media on high quality, glossy paper. The 165 images include two double gatefolds.  It doesn’t take long to fall in love with Benedetto’s vibrant style.  These samples make me want to visit any art gallery that presents a show of his works. In the meantime, I’ll have to be satisfied with contemplating and studying the brilliant copies in the book.

The teenaged Benedetto studied painting at the High School of Industrial Arts in Manhattan. His homework assignments included scenes of Central Park. His favorite master painter is John Singer Sargent.  Benedetto’s style leans towards Impressionism. He can still be found in Central Park, weekdays, in the early morning hours with his pads or canvasses.

Fans of Tony Bennett’s music and visual art can still find copies of  What My Heart Has Seen, online. This highly collectable book is very reasonably priced.  I recommend this volume.

What My Heart Has Seen by Tony Bennett; published August 15, 1996 by Rizzoli; 151 pages 11 X 10 X 0.8 inches; ISBN: 0-8478-1972-8 }

mini-moiThe Blue Jay of Happiness is amazed by Tony Bennett’s successes. Bennett once said, “I’ve been so fortunate, because I never really had ups and downs, as far as my career. 99-percent of the time, I’ve been sold out, all over the world.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Books, cultural highlights, Entertainment, music, Vintage Collectables and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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