Chris Yowell | Biography
Born in Greenwich Village 1950, Christopher Patrick Yowell, was schooled in Wesley College, Dublin 1958-64.
Studied painting with his father Sheehan on returning to New York as a teenage at the age of fourteen. An avid wanderer, Yowell traveled extensively across America and Canada before moving to Europe in 1973; setting up temporary painting studios in many major cities he visited and spending the best part of his time studying paintings in the museums.
Again returning to New York in 1980, he shared his father’s studio, 27 West 8th Street, and started working with him on paintings till Sheehan’s death in 1996. The stories of Sheehan’s earlier life were gathered during this period; through conversations, reminiscence and photographs.
Sheehan & Yowell had many conversations reviewing & discussing the evolution of Painting and agreed on all the major break-troughs: Example; El Greco (Expressionism) Breughel (Genera ) Bosh (Surrealism) Turner (Impressionism) etc. These discussions were a way to confirm what they referred to as ‘Visual Literacy.’
One of Yowell’s earliest childhood memories was when he met Pollock; once when he was 4-5 years old his mother took him and his brother to the Cedar Tavern for dinner one night about 6 or 7 pm. Yowell remembers looking up at Sheehan sitting on a bar stool talking with another man, they looked so large sitting on the bar-stools. He was casually introduced to Pollock as he was going to wash his hands before eating. When he came out Pollock summoned him over and said “Show me those hands!” He looked at them and turned them over saying, ” You didn’t wash the backs of your hands! Don’t you know you have to wash both sides?” He made him go & wash them again!
Franz Kline was frequently over to John’s studio when Yowell was growing up, at parties his mother was giving and to visit with John, though he has no clear recollection of ever meeting him; he is influenced by Kline’s painting on a visual level.
John’s studio was ‘The apartment of the year,1952, all the furniture and interior designs were designed and built by John, and there were two Paintings approx. 3.5′ x 4’, by Franz Kline, Yowell vaguely remembers hanging on the walls. Sheehan latter told him they had been sold in the mid to late 1050’s; to a dentist, Dr. Edlich around the corner at 2 fifth ave.