Artist, Stylist Robert Novel Dies


O Salon, the popular salon that has been part of the Georgetown neighborhood for decades, has lost one of its greats. Robert Novel, who was a partner at the salon back in the 1970s, passed away March 31. Novel, who was in his 70s, was passionate about art and was a purist as an artist. Many of his clients lasted his entire career, with his first job being at Bruno Dessange.

When O Salon’s rent inflated at its space on Wisconsin Avenue, it moved into the current O Street space. Novel stayed on but not as a partner. After developing some health issues, he decided life is short and he loved to paint. He started painting and traveling with his wife Madge to Paris yearly.

Novel, a native New Yorker, was involved with the visual arts since the late 1960s and studied painting and printmaking in both New York and Washington, D.C.. His flair for art is what perhaps made him such a wonderful stylist—he was able to create works of art with hair.

Novel attended continuing education classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York, studying painting and drawing. In 1974, he participated in “Art Now,” a celebration of American arts, at the Kennedy Center.

He had a well-received solo show at Hard Gallery in D.C. in the mid-1970s showing his sculptures and video art. His work was also shown in multiple commercial venues around the nation’s capital, and a lot of his pieces are part of private collections of a number of well-known Washingtonians.

Mallory Tablantino, a friend of Novel, met him in 1976. She calls Novel “a great friend with impeccable taste” and “a true sense of design and beauty.” Novel’s art was balanced and peaceful to Tablantino, and she called his client list impressive.

The Georgetowner will have more information on Robert Novel and run an appreciation in its April issue.

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