The National Arts Club in Manhattan’s Gramercy district was heaving opening night with party goers downing Verve to toast Australian artist Vincent Fantauzzo, who had just completed his “30 Portraits in 30 Days” project.
The gregarious Melbourne painter, best known for his incredible triptych portrait of Heath Ledger — which won 2008’s Archibald Prize — recently spent a month in New York painting 30 individuals who he feels define the city. Subjects of Fantauzzo’s portraits included model Jessica Hart, who has now lived in New York for several years, and singer Daniel Merriweather, who divides his time between New York and London, both of whom attended the party at the prestigious private club, which ignored its restrictive dress code for the night. Other attendees included film director Baz Luhrmann, who now also calls New York home, plus a raft of assorted Aussie actors, producers, photographers, writers and publicists.
The darkly lit club, which looks like something out of an Edith Wharton novel, was crammed with several hundred guests, including two-year-old Ezekial, another of Fantauzzo’s subjects. The little boy busted some adorable dance moves in front of Fantauzzo and Luhrmann, entirely oblivious that some very important people were admiring both his style and Fantauzzo’s talent for scouting subjects.
By Carmel Melouney