When Bente Torjusen, former director of the AVA Gallery, was looking for a place to hang an impressive and substantial drawing done by her late husband, the artist Clifford West, she chose Three Tomatoes Trattoria in Lebanon NH. The piece was just recently installed on virtually the only remaining large rectangle of wall space in the restaurant. There was no question that the drawing would fit the existing decor.
Installing West’s drawing
That's because Clifford West's murals grace the walls throughout the trattoria, and have done so since the early 1990s. In fact, the drawing loaned by Torjusen is a study that West did in preparing one of the existing murals still on view in the main dining room.
Mural in the main dining room
Owner Robert Meyers had recently opened Three Tomatoes (then Sweet Tomatoes) in 1990, with bare white and as-yet-unadorned walls. West dropped by and casually suggested that he could contribute his art. He set up his scaffolding and began to paint the murals, often as customers and staff looked on. Meyers says that the renowned artist was paid "in trade." West's work has remained, keeping company with Upper Valley diners for almost three decades.
(Featured photo shows Bente Torjusen with Robert Meyers. The first two photos are by Nika Meyers, used with permission of Three Tomatoes)
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Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge