Kenneth Hari is a painter and sculptor best known for his extraordinary portraits of famous actors, authors, musicians, scientists, politicians, artists, business moguls, lawyers and other celebrities. Born in Perth Amboy, NJ, in 1947, Hari grew up in Hollywood, CA, and attended school with Dustin Hoffman---the beginning of his well-rubbed elbows with the rich, famous and notorious, and his well-traveled adult life as an artist and designer. Hari’s parents had a house in Key West, where Hari swam in Tennessee Williams’s pool and wrote art criticism for Key West newspapers. A graduate of the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, 1966, he earned a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art, 1968, attended Yale University, 1970, and did post-graduate work at New York University, 1988.
Among his more than 300 portraits from life sittings are those of W.H. Auden, Groucho Marx, Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dali, Ernest Hemingway, H.W. Janson (of “Janson’s History of Art”), Greta Garbo, Pablo Casals, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Dr. Linus Pauling, Robert Motherwell, Dolly Parton, Lauren Bacall, Aaron Copland, Isaac Asimov, George Balanchine, Dustin Hoffman, Lewis Mumford, James A. Michener, Helen Keller, James Earl Jones, Gore Vidal, Louis Nizer, Otto Preminger, Tennessee Williams, Kurt Vonnegut, Leonard Bernstein, John Ciardi, Rosemary Clooney, Howard Cosell, John Kenneth Galbraith, Marcel Marceau, Andre Kertesz, Robert Moses, Margaret Mead, Norman Rockwell, Orson Wells, B.F. Skinner and Gene Kelly.
Hari’s work is in the permanent collections of more than 350 museums and private collections, including Newark Museum; Beijing Museum of Fine Arts, China; The Vatican; Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Jersey State Museum; Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville, TN; Lincoln Center Gallery, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, VA. His many solo exhibitions include Beijing; C.C. Price Gallery, NYC, and H.S. Graphics, Ltd., and he has participated in numerous group exhibitions. Hari served as a member of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Art Festival in 1973. As a sculptor, Hari works in optical crystal, a medium he helped pioneer and the clearest known material. As a person, he might as well be Niagara Falls---energetic, primal, generous, larger than life---full of stories and facts, and a mystery unto himself. Hari is one of the great masters of American fine art.