CAMBRIDGE | CAPE & ISLANDS
the town he has loved for most of his life,
he shifts the conversation to baseball. “The
old painters loved baseball, and there are
correlations between it and painting,” he
says. “Like painting, the game doesn’t
recognize the clock. It’s indifferent to
time. And it has a farm system where players can find themselves as they come up
through the rank and file. In Provincetown,
there used to be a farm system of writers
and painters where they could find their
philosophy of art. If you can’t house artists, if they can’t afford studio space, the
farm system dies.” This understanding was
what, in 1968, prompted Del Deo, his late
wife, the poet and historian Josephine Del
Deo, Robert Motherwell, Jack Tworkov,
and Stanley Kunitz, among others, to
found the Fine Arts Work Center, which
was established to provide working space
for artists and restore the year-round vitality of the town’s art colony.
What fuels him today?
His gaze washes over a nearby work-
ing canvas, sweeping the faces of men look-
ing out at him, men lost when their dragger
went down. “The work,” he says. “The rou-
tine of the work.”
That is it?
“And there is a word in Italian that
sounds like the word in English.
Pentimento. The memory of the past.”
Salvatore Del Deo’s work is available
through the Berta Walker Gallery, 208 Bradford
Street, Provincetown, MA; 508-487-6411;
del deo, whom almost everyone calls Sal,
pauses on the crushed shell path that leads
from his studio to his home.