After years out of the limelight, artist Sherry Wolf debuted her new series of paintings at Imago Galleries in Palm Desert on March 7th, 2014. During the 1970s as a budding artist, painter Sherry Wolf was considered a bicoastal darling of the art world, dividing her time between the Studio 54 nightclub scene in New York City and Hollywood, where she ran with a crowd of creative industry elites. Her realistic, and nearly life-size self-portrait from 1974, titled Label Lady, demands a double take and can be easily mistaken for a photograph.
Wolf's artwork even commands a wall at the White House, commissioned by the Nixon administration of daughter Tricia Nixon's wedding to Edward Cox in the 1980s.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Wolf successfully branched out with her eponymous jewelry and handbag brand. Her leather bags were touted by Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel and Bloomingdales, among other boutiques across the country. The handbags were highly sought after by celebrities, who were often photographed carrying her identifiable totes.
Iconic West Coast movie producer Jerry Weintraub befriended the artist and began collecting her works in the 1970s. His Palm Desert home boasts a collection of Wolf's paintings: an entire portrait series of Hollywood stars from a bygone era, including Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart and Groucho Marx, among others.
Tragedy struck in 2009 for Wolf with the sudden death of her 22-year-old daughter Chelsea, a promotional model for the fashion line and a University of Michigan graduate. Emotionally devastated by the loss, Wolf ceased creating the wearable artworks and stopped painting altogether. Concerned for her well-being, Weintraub introduced the talented artist to art dealer Leisa Austin — owner of Imago Galleries. The two hit it off immediately and Sherry reentered her studio and started painting again, for the first time in nearly 4 years. Inspired by her time in the Desert, the artist's new series took on a decidedly Modernist flair.
Photography by Lani Garfield