Max Ferguson

Max Ferguson (New York, NY, 1959) is a modern master of realism living and working in New York City and Jerusalem. Born in New York, much of Max’ work focuses on the people, places, and urban scenes of his hometown – preserving through his paintings, things that are disappearing. He draws his inspiration from Edward Hopper, 17th-century Dutch genre painting, and the Old Masters. Max’s works are included in the Crystal Bridges Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The British Museum and many other significant public and private collections.


Popcorn (Study), 2014
Oil Study on Panel
12 x 16 in

Popcorn is a study for the larger oil completed in 2015 and acquired by the Seven Bridges Collection in Connecticut. As with many of Max’s works, the verso of the painting includes a “diary” collage. 

Artist’s Notes: “I had been wanting to do a painting of a popcorn vendor in a movie theater for a very long time. The problem was I could never find the right popcorn machine and setting. In September of 2014, I was in San Francisco. A friend brought me to the Castro Movie Theater to see a silent film. I walked in and saw this machine. I thought, “Oh, that’s perfect.” Then I looked to my left and saw the woman behind the counter, and thought “She’s perfect!” This is part of an ongoing series of paintings on the theme of movies. I spent my adolescence doing animated films, and was a film major at NYU film school.”

Collector’s Comments: “I first saw Max’ work at the Crystal Bridges Museum – his painting Time is on permanent display there.  I was immediately drawn to the incredible detail and use of light in his paintings. The subject matter was modern and familiar, but the style reminded me of a combination of Vermeer and Rockwell. Later, as I had the opportunity to see  more of his work, I learned about his penchant for keeping a diary on the back of the panels as he painted them.  This provides a sense of immediate connection between the artist and the art, it allows a glimpse into the life of the artist while he created the work and helps to explain the painting in the artist’s own words. As I have come to know Max and learn more about his paintings, I saw this Study and the final Popcorn painting and was drawn to them both.  The final painting had recently been acquired by a private foundation (and was well outside my acquisition budget). The Study, however, was still available. Beautiful in its own right, it could very well be a final painting – Max has signed it in the bottom right and the back is covered in notes, applied clippings and even some sheet music.  I am fortunate to be able to include Max’ work in the collection – he is certainly a modern master!”