With a Nod to the Past, Denville’s Marco Cutrone Paints Neoclassically


By Steve Sears

Denville artist, Marco Cutrone, is being complimented about his oil on canvas “Beach Series” of paintings.

“We all have to work,” Cutrone says. “But in our time off, most people I know like to go to the beach. When we can’t get to the beach, especially in the wintertime, I like to paint those paintings. It brings me to the beach.”

Then there’s his “Angel Series.” “The angel paintings happened because of my father’s passing. Where do you go now for that advice that you would speak to your father about? You have to look into or within yourself, or around you in your close circle of people.”

Cutrone, who in addition to his art work has also taught at both Dover’s The Kubert School and County College of Morris in Randolph, loves teaching about the past, but also has eyes toward the future. “When I went to grad school, that was the big thing. When we started, the teacher took me aside and said, ‘Look, what you’re going to learn about grad school is that, at least in the arts, is that you always want to keep one foot in the past, but you have to keep one foot in the future as well.’”

Still, Cutrone, 55, who also does drawings in graphite pencil, calls himself a Neoclassical painter. He describes the reflected era. “It’s really something that happened, the whole Greco Roman period, where they painted and sculpted as true to life as they possibly could. I still think that some of the works that were created from way back then, 800 years before the Renaissance even happened, are some of the greatest pieces of art that were ever created. I am of an ilk that I like to see a refined skill. I like to try to come up with conceptual pieces, and I like to try to come up with the neoclassical style.” It all started close to home. “I’d like to give my cousin, Federico Castelluccio, credit for teaching me, first of all, how to paint. And really, it’s because of the family that I grew up in that I’ve given respect to the old masters. Technology is always going to exist and advance exponentially in years to come and years after that, but I like to look into our past. Because we have learned from people who have done this before, I’d like to give them respect by sort of doing what they did.”

In addition to the inspiration from his cousin, Cutrone, who attended the School of Visual Arts in his hometown of New York City, also credits his classmates when he and they were younger. “You’d see them doodling,” he recalls, “and you wanted to parallel or compete with their ability and try to better yourself.”

It’s oil paintings that Cutrone loves to do. “That medium of oil, if you ask me, has stood the test of time, and will continue to stand the test of time,” he says. “I like to do paintings that you can hang on your wall or hang on the wall of a gallery or museum or wherever they end up going. What are we if we don’t stand on the shoulders of our forefathers, right?”

As for graphite, Cutrone says. “It couldn’t be more different (than oil painting). You have a dry medium, and it’s got a very definite, very rigid sort of point. You’re dealing with black and white, and then on the other hand, you’re dealing with color and flimsy tips on brushes, and it’s a very wet medium. I love the contrast of the two.”

Cutrone does have a studio in his Denville home, but sometimes the size of a work necessitates he seek larger crafting spaces. “I have a 14-foot-wide painting that can’t be done here,” he says, “so I have to rely on friends.” One of those friends is Tommy Dean of Norman Dean Home for Services, Inc. “Very philanthropic, one of my favorite people, always extends a hand when somebody needs a helping hand,” he says of Dean. “Right now, I’m currently working in one of his spaces, because he was generous enough to lend me some space to do that 14-foot painting-that’s going to Santa Fe in a private collection. Before that, I did a big nine-foot painting for the Knights of Columbus. I did as much as I could in a friend’s garage, and then they moved and sold the house, and I had to take that nine-foot painting to the Knights of Columbus where it ended up. Now it’s in their Morristown location.” 

When asked which is his favorite of all his creations, Cutrone says, “My favorite painting is the next one. When you love what you do, you look forward to doing the next painting. But then I have to give Pablo Picasso credit for saying that, the brilliant marketer that he was.” And how about the painting or drawing just finished? “It becomes one of your children, and they have to go out in the world and represent you well.”

Cutrone’s last exhibition was held on Dec. 29 at Trautmann & Associates, LLC in Denville. 

To learn more about Cutrone and his work, visit his website at www.marcocutrone.com.

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