Laura Krifka

The Artwork of Laura Krifka

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1985, Laura Krifka is an American artist whose carefully constructed and intimate figurative work dissects the workings of power, observation and identity in contemporary visual culture. After initial studies at Newbold College in England and Avondale College in Australia, Krifka earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, in 2008. She continued her studies at University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received her Master of Arts in 2010. 

Laura Krifka incorporates the techniques of contemporary film and photography framing into her work, as well as visual references to historical art images. She often collapses several views of the same subject, space or pose into a painting which, appearing deceptively simple, actually contains challenging puzzles, distortions, and physical impossibilities. The pleasure of observation is a recurring theme in Krifka’s work. Vulnerable figures inhabit domestic spaces in various states of preparation, undress, and play. They either gaze out of their canvases or are observed gazing at a central form of desire. 

The complex compositions of Krifka’s paintings require a great deal of planning; their style reflects some of the classical principles of the early nineteenth-century Neoclassicists. Krifka, however, does not limit herself to prescribed conventions or conformity. Ignoring customary gender boundaries, she bends and adapts the roles of both male and female in her work. Krifka instills in her figures a deliberate degree of gender ambiguity that manipulates the narrative and raises the psychological component. 

In 2015, Laura Krifka showed her work at a solo exhibition entitled “Reap the Wind” held at the CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles. Her multi-faceted work, which included recent paintings, sculpture, film and video, examined human behavior and psychology, death, violence and sexuality. In addition to her own allegorical world, Krifka weaved mythological and historical references into her theatrical and sometimes lurid dramatic scenes. These scenes, expressed through a classical lexicon, made voyeurs of the viewers, witnesses to sometimes secret romances, murders or other transgressions. 

Krifka’s work has appeared in many southern California exhibition spaces, among which are the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, the Torrance Museum of Art, the Louver at Los Angeles, and Beacon Arts in Inglewood. Her work has also been shown at the Zroboli Gallery of Chicago, the BravinLee Programs in New York and Las Vegas’s VastSpaceProjects, among others. 

Krifka’s work is housed in the permanent collections of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the Art, Design & Architecture Museum at the Santa Barbara campus of the University of California, the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection of Palm Beach, and the Pizzuti Collection in Columbus, Ohio.

For the 2018-2019 academic year, Laura Krifka was a member of the studio art concentration faculty of the Art and Design Department at California Polytechnic State University. She is represented by the contemporary art gallery Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. Krifka’s website, containing images and contact information, can be found at:

Second Insert Image: Laura Krifka, “Pink Peep”, 2019, Oil on Panel, 116.8 x 76.2 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Laura Krifka, “Sour Grape”, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 101.6 x 60.1 cm


Michael Costello

The Artwork of Michael Costello

Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1957, Michael Costello is an American realist painter. After graduating from Burlington High School, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University under figurative painter Barnett Rubinstein known primarily for his still life work. Costello’s work explores humankind’s anxiety in the twentieth-century through images that capture the human body’s vulnerability and celebrate its perceived flaws.

During his study years in Boston, Costello focused his work on twentieth-century objects and their place as icons in history. He moved in 1978 to Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he has shown his work for over three decades. While living there, Costello’s work was noticed and encouraged by the late figure painter Alice Neel, whose expressive work challenged the traditional, objectified nude depictions of women by her male predecessors. 

In 1984, Michael Costello relocated his studio back to Boston and began working with the Barbara Singer Fine Art gallery through which his work was introduced to corporate art collections in the metropolitan area. In the mid-1980s, Costello began his annual European travels to work ‘plein air’ and in association with various artist residencies. In 2008, he became the first recipient of The Pollack-Krasner Masters to Byrdcliffe; the primary criterion for acceptance at Byrdcliffe is artistic excellence or demonstrated commitment to one’s field of endeavor.

Much of Costello’s inspiration springs from writings, in particular Umberto Eco’s essays “The History of Beauty” and “On Ugliness”, and from such classical figures of tragedy as Pagliacci, the clown figure of Italian opera, and Gilles, the male heraldic-dressed figures of Belgium carnivals. Costello works from life; he choses his models based on their ability to inspire empathy for the human condition. He paints them with emotional honesty, without flattery, and with recognition of any imperfections. Costello believes through the presentation of their nude bodies the psychology of the sitter overrides the formality of portraiture, thus revealing the sitter’s unconscious. 

Michael Costello’s 2018 series “La Comedia é Finita” (The Comedy is Finished)” is a series of drawings in charcoal, pastel and Russian clay that depicts models as a twentieth-century Pierrot, the clown of pantomime and early comedy theater. Costello’s drawings, depicting clowns in various states of repose and undress, explore mankind’s relationship with the icons of jesters and fools. Reminding us that we are more than we appear on the outside, the figures of varying race, gender and orientation are a reflection of our own lives with its tragedies and hopes. 

Costello has presented his work in both group and solo exhibitions since 1980. Among the over fifty group exhibitions in which he has exhibited are the 1980 and 1982 “Small Works Show” held by the Provincetown Art Association, the 1991 “Nuclear Solstice” and 1994 “Fantastically Real” at the Mills Gallery in conjunction with the Boston Center for the Arts, the 2008 “Byrdcliffe Pollock-Kransner Fellows” at the Kleinert/James Art Center, the 2013 “Off the Wall” at the Danforth Art Museum, and the 2018 “Three” at the Attleboro Arts Museum in Massachusetts. 

Michael Costello has had over thirty solo exhibitions in galleries throughout the east coast of the United States, These exhibitions include, among others, multiple shows at The New East End Gallery in Provincetown; the Barbara Singer Fine Art gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts; The Schoolhouse Center in Provincetown; the A Street Gallery in Boston; Ashawagh Hall in East Hampton, New York; the 101 Exhibit in Miami; and The Lucky Street Gallery in Key West, Florida. Since 2015, Michael Costello has shown yearly at Provincetown’s  contemporary William Scott Gallery with whom he is represented.

In addition to private collections, Costello’s work can be found in many corporate and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, the Federal Reserve, Chicago’s Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, the Boston Public Library, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and the headquarters of Wellington Management and Fidelity Investment, among others.

“For over thirty years I have worked with models to comment on our cultural heritage, both philosophical and theological, to acquaint all that is good with beauty. We focus on making clear definitions of what is ugly and what is beautiful, which often shuns both sides to the extreme, turning the beautiful, ugly and making ugly, beautiful. My work with the model as muse gives us a window into the individual soul. I intend to inspire the viewer to observe the subject with a level of pathos; to confront the truth within themselves, what they believe to be beautiful.” – Michael Costello, Boston Voyager Interview, March 2018

Michael Costello’s website with images, exhibitions and contact information is located at:

Note: A 2019 interview with Michael Costello which discusses his “Dancers” drawings, a part of the 2013 series “Boxers and Ballerinas”, can be found at the online art platform “Pineapple” located at:

Top Insert Image: Meagan Hepp, “Michael Costello”, 2018, Color Print, Boston Voyager March 2018

Second Insert Image: Michael Costello, “Pierrot Enraged”, “La Comedia é Finita” Series, 2018, Pastel, Charcoal and Russian Clay on Paper, 76.2 x 56.5 cm, Private Collection

Third Insert Image: Michael Costello, “Self Portrait Based on Rembrandt”, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 66 x 55.9 cm, William Scott Gallery

Bottom Insert Image: Michael Costello, “Marat Redux”, 2011, Oil on Canvas, 122 x 122 cm, Private Collection

Randall Lake

Artwork by Randall Lake

Born in California in 1947, Randall Lake is an American artist who, influenced by an exhibition of work by Van Gogh, paints oil landscapes, still-lifes and portraits in an impressionistic realist style. He is currently based in Utah with a studio in Salt Lake City and a studio in his Spring City cottage home. 

Lake traveled to France and studied French in 1968 at the Sorbonne of the University of Paris. When the events of the May 1968 protests closed the university, he continued his studies at the Academie Julian under painter Claude Schurr. In addition to his painting studies, Lake completed his English Degree, Cum Laude, in 1970 at the University of Colorado at Boulder. In 1972, he studied with Belgium designer and color-abstract painter Gustave Singier at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux Arts. 

Randall Lake was an instructor in English at the Sorbonne from 1970 to 1973. He studied printmaking in 1973 under English printmaker and painter Stanley William Hayter at the Atelier 17, an experimental workshop that was influential in the teaching and promotion of printmaking in the twentieth-century. After four years of teaching, Lake settled in Utah where he studied under English-born portrait artist Alvin Gittins at the University of Utah. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in 1977 and became in 1978 a visiting member of the Department of Art Studio faculty at the university.

Lake continuously searches for new subjects and techniques for his work. Over time, his journey in art has reflected his journey in life, from the traditional landscapes executed as a Mormon to the more daring works as an openly gay man. Lake is drawn to the atmosphere that was present in the nineteenth-century, the lifestyle, the arts and the architecture. He paints from life and location to capture the essence of the subject and the moment. Seeking a change in his work, Randall Lake has begun experimenting with the elements of Abstraction and Fauvism, a movement which emphasized painterly qualities of brushwork and strong color. 

Randall Lake is the recipient of many awards for his work, including the 2003 Grand Prix du Peintre Maudit from Salt Lake City’s Guthrie Institute, the 2015 and 2016 Award of Merit for the Spring City Plein Air Competition, ant the 2001 and 2006 Governor of Utah Award for Fine Art, among others. His work is in many private and public collections, including the Jinling Library in Nanjing, China; Utah State Collection of Art; Wyoming State Collection; Utah Museum of Fine Art; and the Leslie-Lohman Museum in New York.

Note: A video portrait of Randall Lake by Michael Schoenfeld for  RadioWest Films can be found at:

An article on Randall Lake’s work, with quotes by the artist, can be found at the Springville Museum of Art website located at:

Randall Lake’s website, containing his work, gallery events and contact information, can be found at:

Second Insert Image: Randall Lake, “Afternoon Nap”, 1991, Pastel on Paper, 35.6 x 45.7 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Randall Lake, “Self Portrait with Model”, 1992, Oil on Canvas, 91.4 x 76.2 cm

Igor Sychev

The Paintings of Igor Sychev

Born in February of 1987 in the northern city of Nadym, Igor Sychev is a Russian artist known for his Magic-Realistic figurative paintings. At the age of five years having shown an inclination towards the arts, his parents enrolled him in the city’s art school where he studied until the age of sixteen. Sychev left Nadym upon graduation and relocated to Novosibirsk, the capital of Siberia, where he entered the Faculty of Industrial Design at the State Academy of Architecture, Design and Fine Arts.

After graduating from the Academy in 2010, Sychev moved to Moscow, which as Russia’s capital offered wider prospects for a career and self-expression. He soon obtained employment as an industrial designer and created designs for furniture and interior spaces. In 2011 while working in the design field , Sychev began a personal study of oil painting techniques. Over the next ten years, Igor Sychev gradually redirected his energies into pursuing a career as a painter. 

In addition to the primary medium of oil paints, Igor Sychev also produces works in the mediums of watercolor, pencil, sepia and charcoal. His work is inspired by the works of the recognized Master artists , such as Michelangelo’s “David”, who viewed the nude male body as a source of beauty, Other influences on Sychev’s work include the paintings of Lucian Freud and Egon Schiele, the large-scale expressive paintings of Paolo Troilo, painter Gregory Little’s boldly colored figures in everyday scenes,  and Portuguese painter Carlos Barahona Possollo’s male nude paintings.   

As the present politics and attitudes in Russian are predominantly homophobic, Igor Sychev has not been able to exhibit in galleries or museums. He holds his private exhibitions in establishments offered by friends. Sychev’s work is held in many private collections throughout the world, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Denmark, and South Africa, among others. 

Images of Igor Sychev’s paintings, watercolors and drawings, as well as contact information, can be found at the artist’s website located at:

Bottom Insert Image: Igor Sychev, “Concrete Colours” Sketch, Date Unknnown, White/Black Pencil and Pen on Paper, Artist Collection (Available)

Simona Dolci

The Paintings of Simona Dolci

Born in 1950 in Pesaro, a city located on the Adriatic Sea, Simona Dolci is an Italian realist painter and architect. In 1975, she earned her doctorate in Architecture from the University of Florence under Leonardo Ricci, a leading figure in the Italian architectural scene of the Second War World and a proponent of social and landscape-bound architecture. Dolci was assistant Professor in the university’s Department of Architecture from 1976 to 1980. After her tenure at the university, she studied painting and drawing at Florence’s Accademia di Belle Arti. 

In 1983, Simona Dolci continued her training at the Florence atelier conducted by painter and educator Nerina Simi, the daughter of Italian painter and sculptor Filadelfo Simi, himself the student of the famous French painter Jean Leon Gérome. From 1988 to 1991, Dolci completed her studies in painting and artistic techniques at Florence’s renowned Cecil Graves School of Art, a private atelier focused on classical techniques of drawing and oil painting. 

Since 1991, Dolci has taught drawing and painting skills at her own studio, an old monastery in the heart of Florence, as well as at the city’s Academy of Art. Starting in 1995, she also taught the Academy’s summer painting and drawing courses, and became its Program Director in 2005. Dolci has been Director of the Academy’s Intensive Drawing Program since 1998. 

Simona Dolci has participated in numerous  solo and group exhibitions over the years, including the 2007 exhibition “The Art of Seduction” at Dublin’s Gormleys Gallery, where she showed her paintings together the figurative work of Irish sculptor Paddy Campbell. In 2018, she presented new works at “The Sweet Noise of Life”, a major exhibition in Pietrasanta, Italy. That same year Dolci was awarded the prestigious “Caterina de Medici Prize” by the International Medicean Academy of Florence, reserved to great contemporary women who have distinguished themselves in their professional careers. Her paintings are in many private collections in Italy, France, Mexico, and the United States.

“You will draw figures so that this will be sufficient to demonstrate what the figure has inside its soul; otherwise your art will not be commendable” -Leonardo Da Vinci

Bottom Insert Image: Simona Dolci, “Vulcano”, 2015, Oil on Canvas on Panel, 65 a 85 cm, Private Collection

Note: For those interested in a scholarly article on Simona Dolci’s realistic work, I recommend art curator Anita Valentini’s article “Simona Dolci: Portraits of Contemporary Archetypes, The Sweet Sound and Memory of Life” which can be found at the link below:

Click to access Scritto-critico-EN.pdf


Sergio Cerchi

Paintings by Sergio Cerchi

Born in Florence in 1957, Sergio Cerchi is an Italian painter and musician. Beginning in his teenage years, he started to study in his two passions, the visual arts and music, by attending workshops held by Florence’s artists and playing in musical groups. Cerchi received his Bachelor of Arts from Florence’s Istituto D’Arte of Porta Romana and attended courses at the prestigious Luigi Cherubini Conservatory of Music.

Sergio Cerchi worked through a process of experimentation with various art techniques to develop his own personal style. His influences range from primitive art to the masters of the Italian Renaissance. Cerchi’s figurative and still life works are set in flattened and realist tableaux, similar to theater sets, within which are contained references to popular culture, art history and personal experience.

In Cerchi’s paintings, the pictorial surface as a whole is fractured into multiple quadrants whose portion of the image is rendered with different coloring and lighting. Through this technique, figures and objects are segmented and reconstructed in collages composed from their angled fragments. The resulting canvas, with its shifting, peeling surface and fading horizon planes, presents a unique version of cubist art.

Sergio Cerchi’s paintings are mostly executed in different shades of a dominant hue. Depending on the angle of each fragmented quadrant, the tone of that part of the image may appear softer or bolder. The palette of Cerchi’s oil paints range from warm undertones of red carmine, mixed with shades of green, ocher and blues, to tones of brown and gray. A prominent feature of his work is the use of bold, dramatic shading in the compositions.

Since 2011, Sergio Cerchi has been represented by Galleria Gagliardi located in San Gimignano, Siena, Italy. He presented his work at a 2013 curated exhibition, entitled “Art in Therapy”, held at the Chiesa di Sant’Agala, a national archeological site in Spoleto, Italy.

Note: Images of Sergio Cerchi’s work and information on exhibitions can be found through Galleria Gagliardi’s website located at:

Bottom Insert Image: Sergio Cerchi, “Supereroe”, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 100 x 100 cm, Private Collection

Alex Folla

The Paintings of Alex Folla

Born in 1980 in Oggiono, a northern town in the Province of Lecco, Alex Folla is a contemporary Italian artist. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Painting at Milan’s Accademia di Brera and a Masters Degree in Visual Arts from the Accademia di Bella Arti in the city of Carrara. He currently lives and works in Milan, Filorera located in the Italian Alps, and Moscow.

Trained in the history and techniques of the Renaissance and Baroque artists from Michelangelo to Caravaggio, Alex Folla uses his classical training to tackle contemporary life though metaphoric images. He creates profoundly technical and pictorial realistic images which incorporate such human issues as the frailty of the body, illness, holiness and strength. In many of his works, Folla takes traditional sacred imagery and, using its classical composition and his stylistic choice, reconstructs it to form symbolic images of a more contemporary nature.

In his 2016 show “BulleTime”, Alex Folla based his work on the idea of martyrdom  and reinterpreted the classical images of the Christian martyrs in a more contemporary way. The figures of the martyrs, often substituted with either a self-portrait or one of  friends, were painted in seventeenth-century techniques with gold leaf backgrounds used in early traditional Byzantine paintings. Folla’s paintings in this series are contemporary in appearance by his use of the “bullet time” cinematic technique, a slow-motion film shot enabling you to see every moment of the scene, typically when the protagonist dodges the incoming bullet. With the use of this technique from movie culture, Folla focuses the attention of the viewer towards each of the paintings’ figures, who are seen moving from their position as if to avoid an object’s trajectory and their inevitable martyrdom.

Alex Folla’s paintings have appeared in multiple group exhibitions throughout the world including the 2010 Castello Dei Pico Exhibition, where he won the Volturno Morani Prize; the 2014 International Alla Prima Exhibition in New Delhi; the 2016 LA Art Show in Los Angeles; the 2014 and 2016 SWAB International Exhibitions in Barcelona; and the 2017 Ostrale 17 Biennale in Dresden, Germany, among others.

Alex Folla’s fist solo exhibition, entitled “Black and White”,  was in 2013 at Milan’s Union Gallery. Since then, he has had multiple solo shows including two at Moscow’s Triumph Gallery: “Miracles” in 2014 and “#unknownmonk” in 2015; the 2014 “Football Players” at the Savina Gallery in St. Petersburg; the 2016 “bulleTime” at Los Angeles’s Building Bridge Gallery; and the 2016 “#unknownmonk 2.0” at Los Angeles’s Italian Institute of Culture in collaboration with the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Additional images, exhibition dates and contact information can be found at the artist’s site located at:

Top Insert Image: Alex Folla, “Patrocio”, 2020, Oil and Gold Leaf on Canvas, 145 x 145 cm

Bottom Insert Image: Alex folla, “Aiace”, 2020, Oil and Gold Leaf on Canvas, 145 x 145 cm

Clara Peeters

Clara Peeters, “Still Life with Cheeses, Artichoke, and Cherries”, circa 1625, Oil on Wood, 46.7 x 33.3 cm, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Clara Peeters, “Table with Cloth, Salt Cellar, Gilt Standing Cup, Pie, Jug, Porcelain Plate with Olives and Cooked Food”, 1611, Oil on Panel, 55 x 73 cm, Museo National del Prado, Madrid

Clara Peeters was a still-life pioneer, one of the only female Flemish artists who exclusively painted still-life works. She was a contemporary of Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jan Brueghel the Elder, and as such, was active during one of the great periods of European art. Peeters is credited with the popularization of colorful, banquet or breakfast pieces, depicting sumptuous displays of tableware, goblets, food, drink and flowers, into the Dutch painting tradition. She is known for her meticulous brushwork, ability to capture precise textures, and her low angle of perspective.

While customs and law did not favor women’s inclusion in professional activities, a small number of women were able to overcome the existing restrictions and become painters. Factors such as the problem of studying anatomical drawings from live, normally male, models who posed nude in an activity was forbidden to women and thus limited their work to portraits or still-life paintings.

There is very little documentation on the life of Clara Peeters aside from her paintings. Scholars believe she was born between 1588 and 1590. Although a record indicates a Clara Peeters was baptized in Antwerp in 1594, both Clara and Peeters were common names. A baptism in 1594 would imply that her sophisticated 1607 paintings, the earliest dated known works,  were done when she was thirteen, which seems unlikely. By 1612, Peeters was producing large numbers of painstakingly rendered still life paintings. There is no known work of hers beyond 1621; the date of her death is also unknown.

While Peeters is not registered in the painters’ guild in Antwerp, she is described in a document as a painter from there. Of her known works, six bear marks on their painting panels indicating their preparation in the city of Antwerp. On the blades of three silver knives depicted in Peeters’ paintings are hallmarks, indicating their origin as the city of Antwerp; these knives also bear Peeters’ name which might be an indication of her own marriage, as silver cutlery was used as wedding gifts.

Clara Peeters’ first known work, signed and dated 1607, reflects the compositional and technical skill of a trained artist. She signed thirty-one works and dated many of them; another seventy-six works are speculated to be in her body of work, although documentation is lacking to assign them affirmatively. Although no record of patrons is available, it appears that Peeters was a successful artist. The fact that her work was widely distributed and is present in collections in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Madrid, suggests she exported her paintings through dealers and likely was able to achieve some profit. Four of Peeters’ early works came to the Prado Museum from the Spanish Royal Collection. 

Clara Peeters devoted her activities to still-life painting, deploying a style that emphasized the real appearance of things, in a period where realism was seen as an alternative to the idealism of the Renaissance tradition.Her paintings depicted fish and fowl ready to be cooked, cooked food displayed on the table, serving vessels, cutlery, other objects, most of them costly luxury items. These were all painted with great detail in the description of both texture and form: the brightly lit objects were presented in elegant contrast with the dark backgrounds. 

Peeters’ paintings show the tastes and customs of the prosperous classes in the middle of the Renaissance period. The tables in her still-life works include imported goods and food, such as wine, fruit, sweetmeats, and particularly fish, of which Peeters was the first artist to portray as the main subject of a still-life. Her work also included falcons next to dead fowl, the subject of an aristocrat’s hunt, and sea shells, prized for their exotic origins and beauty. 

Clara Peeters was one of the first known artists to incorporate self-portraiture into still-life paintings. Barely noticeable, they appear at least in eight of her works, often reflected on a silver-gilt goblet or on the lids of pewter jugs. On the surface of the right goblet in her “Still Life with Flowers, Gilt Goblets, Coins and Shells” are located six self-portraits of Peeters, where she is seen holding her brushes and palette in a stance upholding her status as a woman painter. Depicted in detail on such a minute scale, these self-portraits attest to Clara Peeters’s level of artistic skill.

Insert Images:

Clara Peeters, “Still Life with Flowers, Gilt Goblets, Coins and Shells”, Detai View of Self-Portraits, 1612, Oil on Panel, 59.5 x 49 cm, Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle

Clara Peeters, “Still Life with Fish, Candle, Artichokes, Crabs and Shrimp”, 1611, Oil on Panel, 50 x 72 cm, Museo National del Prado, Madrid

Clara Peeters, “Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds and Pretzels”, 1615, (With Signed Silver Knife), Oil on Panel, 34.5 x 49.5, Museum Mauritshuis, The Hage

James Huctwith


Figurative Paintings by James Huctwith

Born in rural southern Ontario, Canada in 1967, James Huctwith is a painter in the realist tradition. From 1986 to 1989, he studied fine art at the University of Guelph’s College of Art in Ontario, primarily in architecture and art history and theory. Huctwith started painting and exhibiting in the early 1990s in Vancouver. Relocating to Toronto in 1995, he was represented by the O’Connor Gallery where he regularly exhibited his emotionally and physically explicit work for a decade.

After a period of personal disruption and change, Huctwith joined Vancouver’s Gallery Jones in the spring of 2005. He stayed with the gallery for two years, during which time he exhibited  a series of non-figurative works. Beginning in 2006, Huctwith was also represented for two years by Montreal’s Galerie Harwood, where the work he exhibited consisted primarily of interpretations of the still life genre. In 2007, he ended his relationship with the O’Connor Gallery.

Feeling a need to recapture his connection with his work, James Huctwith returned to the province of Ontario, placed his previous work with Toronto’s Antonio Arch Fine Arts, and signed up with Ottawa’s Galeria La Petite Mort. His first solo show of figurative work at the Petite Mort gallery in the fall of 2009 was a success. Huctwith’s work, now published and regularly reviewed, is collected internationally with many works in private collections..

Huctwith’s current realist work, both figurative and portraiture, is done with an emphasis on historical techniques. His canvases of male figures are moody, masculine, and mysterious. While a sense of calmness is presented in Huctwith’s scenes, there is often a lurking undercurrent of uncertainty and conflict.

The artist’s website can be found at:

William Orpen

William Orpen, “Self Portrait on Cliff Top in Howth”, cica 1910, Black Charcoal and Gouache, 50.5 x 36.5 cm, Private Collection

Born in County Dublin in November of 1878, William Newenham Montague Orpen was an Irish draftsman and portrait painter of London’s wealthy Edwardian society. A talented figure of British-Irish Post-Impressionism, he was the youngest son of wealthy, amateur painters and a gifted student who learned rapidly from a succession of celebrated tutors. 

William Orpen was enrolled at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art in 1891, where he studied from 1892 to 1896.  He continued his studies at London’s Slade School of Art between 1897 and 1899, under figurative painter Henry Tonks, landscape painter Philip Wilson Steer, and genre and portrait painter Frederick Brown. Having mastered oil painting and different painting techniques, Orpen’s work, during his six years of study, received many prizes including the British Isles gold medal for life drawing.

Upon graduation from the Slade School, Orpen, along with his fellow graduate, Welsh painter Augustus John,  opened in the autumn of 1903, the Chelsea Art School, a private teaching studio, near King’s Road in Chelsea. Although it was meant as a joint venture, most of the teaching and running of the school was undertaken by John, with Orpen’s chief contribution being a series of lectures on anatomy. Both male and female students were admitted to the school but, despite John’s own bohemian lifestyle, the sexes were segregated for the Life classes. The project was not a success, and, after the waning of both’s interest, the school closed in 1907.

From 1902 to 1915, William Orpen, in addition to his classes at the Chelsea School, taught at the Dublin Metropolitan School of At, where his pupils included portrait painter Margaret Clarke,  romantic-realist painter John Keating, and cartoonist Grace Gifford. In the summer of 1904, he and his friend and mentor, the gallery director and art dealer Hugh Lane, traveled to Paris and Madrid. Orpen guided Lane on the purchase of Impressionist works, and Lane, several years later, commissioned Orpen for a portrait series of notable Irish figures to be displayed at Dublin’s  Municipal Gallery of Modern Art. In 1908, Orpen began exhibiting his work regularly at London’s Royal Academy;  the work in this period was done in a distinctive open-air style that featured figures composed of touches of color.

Starting in 1912, Orpen began his successful career as a portrait painter with a series of portraits of his favorite model, Vera Brewster Hone, the wife of writer Joseph Hone. This series, of such quantity that Orpen numbered them instead of naming them, included the 1912 “The Angler” and the 1918 “The Roscommon Dragoon”, which portrayed Vera Brewster wearing a Dragoon uniform. With the support of painter John Singer Sargent, Orpen built a reputation, in both Dublin and London, as a fashionable portrait painter who presented his subjects in a traditional, polished style. He also painted several group portraits, a popular genre at the time, which include the 1912 “The Cafe Royal in London”, depicting Orpen and Augustus John,  and the 1909 “Homage to Manet”, with the subjects, including Hugh Lane and Henry Tonks, assembled before Manet’s portrait of Eva Gonzales.

In December of 1915, as World War One commenced, William Orpen was commissioned into the Army Service Corps. In January of 1917, through connections with the senior ranks of the British Army, he was given the title of an official artist, which included a promotion to major and unrestricted access to the Front areas in France. Throughout the war years, Orpen painted battle locations, trench scenes, and many portraits of both enlisted men and officers. For his work in this period, he stopped using half-tones and half-shades and adopted a new palettes of colors, with weak purples,  bright greens, and large white spaces of sunlight. Many of these war artist works are in the collection of the Imperial War Museum in London.

Both before and after the war, Orpen produced a number of realistic self-portraits. in which he used his skills as a draftsman to resolve the challenges of surface, lighting, and reflection that he set for himself. His 1910 “Myself and Cupid” was actually a painting within a painting; in this portrait, Orpen painted a table top beyond which was hung a portrait of himself sitting next to a statue of Cupid. Orpen’s 1910 self portrait, known as “Leading the Life in the West”, shows him reflected full-length in a mirror in his studio, wearing a bowler hat and holding gloves and a riding crop. An IOU note is tucked in the frame of the mirror, a testament to the pleasures and distractions of his early career. In Orpen’s 1917 self-portrait “Ready to Start”, painted shortly after his arrival in France, Orpen is inspecting himself in the mirror wearing his military uniform. The French postcards and papers on the desk in the foreground set the scene of wartime France, while the bottles of wine and spirits reference Orpen’s dependence on alcohol during the war.

William Orpen’s life after the war was never the same: he became an alcoholic, grew distant from his wife and family, and mostly painted only to support the lavish lifestyle he took up in Paris with his mistress. Despite his personal problems he was still successful and continued to exhibit widely. Orpen was made a member of the prestigious Royal Academy in 1921 and, in 1923, he received a commission to paint a portrait of Edward, Prince of Wales, for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews. In 1927 he was commissioned for a portrait of Prime Minister David Lloyd George, which was posthumously entered into the National Portrait Gallery. Orpen’s work was also part of the painting event at the 1926 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam.

Orpen became seriously ill in May of 1931, and , after a period of alcohol-induced illness and memory loss, died in London, at the age of fifty-two, in September of 1931. His contribution to the teaching of Irish art has always been recognized as he helped to nurture and influence Ireland’s most important painters of the twentieth-century.William Orpen is buried at Putney Vale Cemetery in southwestern London; a commemorative stone is located in the Island of Ireland Peace Park at Messines, Belgium.

Insert Images Top to Bottom:

William Orpen, Self Portrait, 1913, Oil on Canvas, 122.9 x 89.9 cm, Saint Louis Art Museum

Sir William Orpen, “Self Portrait”, circa 1901, Colored Chalk on Dark Gray Paper, 15.5 x 10.9 cm, Private Collection

William Orpen, “Self Portrait (Ready to Start)”, 1917, Oil on Panel, 60.8 x 49.4 cm, Imperial War Museum, London

Frank Duveneck

Paintings by Frank Duveneck

Born in October of 1848 in Covington, Kentucky, Frank Duveneck was an American etcher and painter. He began painting in his early teens and was employed as an assistant to Wilhelm Lamprecht, a graduate of Munich’s Royal Academy who began a mission to decorate churches in the Cincinnati region. In 1869, Duveneck traveled to Munich where he intended to continue his study of church decoration.

After developing an interest in easel painting, Duveneck enrolled in 1870 at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where he studied under painters and illustrators Wilheim Diez and Alexander Strähuber.. Gaining distinction for his work, Duveneck won a prize in 1872 that entitled him to a studio of his own. Some of his best known works were painted during his time in Germany, including his 1872 “Whistling Boy”. one of Duveneck’s first renditions of working-class ruffians, now housed in the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Frank Duveneck’s work of this period are painted in a vigorous style that reveals the influence of Wilhelm Leibi, who was the leader of a group of young German realists guided by French  realist Gustave Courbet’s innovative and social-themed work. Duveneck’s early style, with its generally dark colors and expressive brushwork, was a melding of contemporary German practice with his interest in the techniques of the Old Masters, particularly the seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish painters.

Duveneck returned to Cincinnati in 1873, and, in the following year, exhibited portraits he had painted in Germany. His reputation as an artist in the United States began with a successful 1875 Boston exhibition of his work where his bold and spontaneous style caused a sensation. Despite encouragement to stay in Boston and paint commissioned portraits, Duveneck returned to Germany where he set up a studio in Munich and began to develop a reputation among its American students.

After a trip to Venice in 1877, Frank Duveneck opened his own painting school in Munich, which soon drew the attention of studying artists. His students, who would become known as the Duveneck Boys, included such future artists as portrait painter and illustrator John White Alexander, and impressionist landscape painters Theodore Wendel and John H. Twachtman. In 1879 Duveneck and his students traveled to Italy, where they would remain for the next two years spending winters in Florence and summers in Venice.

Duveneck was elected to the Society of American Artists in 1880. Around this time, he became interested in etching and produced several works in this medium which were similar in style to those of James Whistler, whom Duveneck had met in Venice. This collection of works were exhibited in a London exhibition in 1881. After 1880 Duveneck altered his painting style to one of lighter colors and less somber lighting effects, which might have been a response to his stay in Italy.

In March of 1886, Frank Duveneck married Elizabeth Boott, one of his students. They lived at Villa Casteliani in Florence for two years and had one son, Frank Boott Duveneck. After his wife’s 1988 death of pneumonia in Paris, Duveneck made the decision  to return in the following year to the United States. He taught painting classes at Cincinnati, New York and Chicago, and frequently traveled to Europe throughout the 1890s. Duveneck became a teacher at the Art Academy of Cincinnati in 1890 and became a regular faculty member in 1900. He was elected into the National Academy of Design in 1905, and became a full Academician in 1906. 

Duveneck exhibited his works in a private room at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco; his works were received with great acclaim, and he was awarded a Special Gold Medal of Honor. Before his death in Cincinnati on January 2, 1919, Frank Duveneck donated a large and important group of his works to the Cincinnati Art Museum, which remains the center for Duveneck studies. His works can be seen at the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery in Washington, DC, Boston’s Museum of Fine Art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.

Top Insert Image:  J. Land, Portrait of Frank Duveneck, 1877, Detail, Photographic Sepia Print on Cabinet Card, Smithsonian Institution

Middle Insert Image: Frank Duveneck, “Study for ‘The Harem Guard”, 1879, Oil on Canvas, 76.2 x 66 cm, Fine Art Museums of San Francisco

Bottom Insert Image: Frank Duveneck, “Self-Portrait”, 1877, Oil on Canvas, Cincinnati Art Museum



Peter Churcher

Paintings by Peter Churcher

Born in Brisbane, Australia, in 1964, Peter Churcher is a portrait and figurative painter in the realist tradition. He holds a Bachelor of Music with Honors from Melbourne University which he acquired in 1986. Traveling through Europe after gaining his Licentiate for Piano Performance from Trinity College in London, Churcher visited many galleries and decided to return to his original passion, painting. He studied at Melbourne’s Victorian College, now Deacon University, where in 1992 he earned his BFA in Painting.

Churcher first showed his work in the group exhibition “Artworks II: Thirty Emerging Melbourne Artists” held at the South Melbourne Town Hall. After entering his work in two group exhibitions at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, he gave his first solo show at the gallery in 1994. Since that time Churcher has held solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, and has been represented in many group exhibitions across the country.

Peter Churcher’s work deals primarily with the human subject in  portraiture and group figurative narratives. His subjects are ordinary people sighted on the streets, who are presented on the canvas with their own personalities and natural enthusiasms. A number of commissioned portraits for both private and public personalities are also contained in Churcher’s body of work.

As a commissioned officer during the Persian Gulf War, Churcher was, in 2002, appointed to be Australia’s official war artist. Traveling to the Persian Gulf and Diego Garcia, he recorded the people and operations of the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force. Churcher’s work captured many aspects of army life not covered by the press photographers. His images of  Australia’s flying officers and pilots, the sailors, and the engine-room stokers aboard the HNAS Kanimbla are now included in the collection of the Australian War Memorial. 

Peter Churcher’s work is represented in many major public, corporate and private collections throughout Australia and overseas including the National Gallery of Australia  and The National Portrait Gallery, both in Canberra; The Australian War Memorial; and Parliament House in Victoria, among others. 

Peter Churcher is represented in Australia by Philip Bacon Galleries in Brisbane and Australian Galleries in Melbourne and Sydney. He is currently living and working in Barcelona, Spain. Churcher’s most recent solo show is at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art in Melbourne through April 16th of  2021. 

Top Insert Image: Peter Churcher, “Hostel”m 2017, Oil on Canvas, 116 x 98 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Peter Churcher, “The Young Painter”, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 78 x 60 cm, Private Collection

Walter Stuempfig

Paintings by Walter Stuempfig

Walter Stuempfig was one of Philadelphia’s most highly regarded painters of the mid-twentieth century. He is known primarily for his landscapes of the Philadelphia area and the shores of New Jersey. Stuempfig’s work is often pervaded with a sense of poetic melancholy that has led to his frequent classification as a romantic realist.

Born in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia in January of 1914, Walter Stuempfig’s initial education was at the Germantown Academy from which he graduated in 1930. He spent a year studying architecture at the University of Pennsylvania before enrolling, in October of 1931, at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Stuempfig studied under modernist illustrator and painter Henry McCarter, the impressionist landscape painter Daniel Garber and realist landscape painter Francis Speight. 

In 1934, Stuempfig won the William Emlen Cresson Memorial Travel Scholarship for study abroad. He traveled frequently to Europe, and he was deeply influenced by the European masters, particularly Nicolas Poussin, Caravaggio, and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. From his initial exhibition in 1932 until  1966, Stuempfig regularly exhibited in the annual exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy. He had his first successful exhibition, as an American realist painter, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 1942 “Artists for Victory” show. 

Discovered by art gallery director R. Kirk Askew, Stuempfig had his first one man show in 1943 at the Durlacher Brothers Gallery in New York. His show was sold out on opening night, with both the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art adding his work to their collections. Stuempfig continued to be represented by the Durlacher Brothers Gallery through 1961. In 1947, the Corcoran Gallery purchased his painting “Two Houses” which had won second prize in the biennial competition that year for contemporary American paintings.

Walter Stuempfig had married his wife Lila Hill, a sculptor who also studied at  the Pennsylvania Academy, in 1935. Upon his wife’s death in 1946, he concentrated more intensely on his artwork. working from his studio in the Chestnut Hill area of northwest Philadelphia. Stuempfig  would spend his summers painting at New Jersey’s shore area and the Manayunk area of Philadelphia. In 1948, he became an instructor in drawing and composition at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, where he taught until his death, after a long illness, in November of 1970.  

As a painter, Walter Stuempfig worked independently, and remained outside the mainstream of the contemporary artistic movements. He was a prolific artist, producing over fifteen hundred works of figure compositions, landscapes and architectural subjects, portraits, and still lifes, all done in the style of romantic realism. Stuempfig had a subtle and polished painting technique; his figurative work had a great subjectivity, which was often infused with nostalgia and personal sentiment.

Walter Stuempfig’s paintings can be found in many private and public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Top Insert Image: Walter Stuempfig, “Queen of the Seas Casino”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 48.1 x 55.9 cm, Private Collection

Bottom Insert Image: Walter Stuempfig, “Sturgeon”, Date Unknown, Oil on Canvas, 45.7 x 35.6 cm, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

Matthijs Röling

Paintings by Matthijs Röling

Born in Oostkapelle, The Netherlands, in 1943, Matthijs Nicolaas Röling is a figurative painter, lithographer and academy lecturer who has carried on the tradition of realistic painting, enriching its language with artistic techniques derived from surrealism. 

Röling received his training at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague from 1960 to 1963; he continued his studies at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam in 1963 to 1964 . He had his first exhibition in 1965 at the Drents Museum in the city of Assen . In 1972, Röling became a lecturer at the Academie Minerva in Groningen where he taught such future artists as realist painters Jan van der Kooi, Douwe Elias, and Peter Pander. Röling has also lectured at the Classical Academy for Fine Art, also in Groningen.

Matthijs Röling first achieved recognition for his work in 1976 with his series of still-lifes, entitled “Cabinets”. In 1983 he began working on large-scale decorative projects, such as monumental canvases and wall and ceiling paintings. In recent years these projects have come to occupy an increasingly important place within Röling’s highly diverse body of work.

Röling’s first large-scale, oil on panel mural, entitled “De Sterrenhemel (The Starry Sky)”, was finished in 1983. The mural is located at the Café De Eenhoorn in the city of Eelde, and consists of four horizontal panels, each panel depicting a section of the night sky with its zodiac symbols and measuring 196 x 173 x 16 centimeters. In a 1987 collaboration with Northern-realist painter Wout Muller, Matthijs Röling produced the mural “Boom van Kennis (Tree of Knowledge)”, which is installed in the auditorium of the Academy Building at the University of Groningen. 

Since 1962, Matthijs Röling has been regularly exhibiting his work in museums and galleries throughout the Netherlands, including Amsterdam’s galleries M.L. de Boer and Galerie Mokum, and Groningen’s Galerie Wiek XX. Röling received the Dr. AH Heineken Prize for Art in 1994 for his short operatic work. The Drents Museum in Assen houses a number of Röling’s paintings and sketchbooks in its collection.

T M Davy

The Artwork of T M Davy

Born in New York, New York in 1980, T M Davy is a painter  whose body  work is characterized by realistic oil portraits.  Davy studied at the National Academy of Design in New York in 2001, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York where he currently teaches. In 2012 , he was an artist in residence at BOFFO in  Fire Island, New York. 

T M Davy’s work relies on scenes that are directly connected to his life and surroundings. Persistent themes in his work are the issues of intimacy, love, and friendship. Past subjects in his work have included candle-lit scenes of domestic life with family, his husband Liam, and his circle of friends. Davy has also painted a series of images centered on horses, inspired by the time he spent on a relative’s farm, and a series of images of candles lit in darkness.

The consistency of Davy’s technical execution  and the sophistication of its realism are apparent in his oil on canvas work, whether in a small or a large-scale format. A connecting link in all of his paintings is his use of the chiaroscuro effect, a technique used also by painters Caravaggio and Anthony van Dyck, which emphasizes the interaction of light and shadow.He has also worked in the mediums of pastel and gouache, with which he produced several series of open air spontaneous drawings in a smaller scale format.

In his work produced on Fire Island, New York, Davy portrays many of his beachside figures entering or in the water, exemplifying the union of bodies with nature, a prominent theme of the artist. His portraits celebrate his inseparable communion with his husband, Liam Davy, as well as the intimacy and bond among close friends. His “Fire Island” series are a meditation on the power and freedom born from togetherness—between figure and landscape, mind and body, human and human.

Davy’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the “No Soul for Sale” exhibition at theTate Modern in London; the “B-Out” exhibition at the Andrew Edlin gallery in New York; the 2009 “Nudes” exhibition at Galeria Fortes Vilaca in São Paolo; and the 2019 “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall” at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, among others. He has had solo exhibitions at Galerie Thomas Fuchs in Stuttgart, Germany in 2018: the Exile gallery in Berlin, Germany, 2012; and gallery 11R in New York in 2014 and 2017. 

“We exist in an age of complete transition. The time is now to communicate the beauty of queer love around the world.   A paradigm shift in people’s conception of love is happening. If I can, I want to play a small part in that–in revealing how true and how eternal it is. Transcendence is a movement to the broadest spectrum. “ —T M Davy, 2019

Information of T M Davy’s work and exhibitions can be found at the artist’s site:

Michael Triegel

The Artwork of Michael Triegel

Born in December of 1968 in Erfurt, Michael Triegel is a German painter, illustrator and graphic artist based in Leipzig. From 1990 to 1997, Michael Triegel studied at the renowned Hochschule fьr Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, where he was taught by Arno Rink, a painter in the German figurative tradition.

The Academy in Leipzig is closely associated with the New Leipzig School, a movement in German art that arose following the fall of the Berlin Wall, of which the painter Neo Rauch, a proponent of social realism, is the most important representative.The members of this association largely use the same figurative form language, though they vary widely in terms of their technique. 

In terms of their subject matter and execution, Michael Triegel’s paintings are instilled with the atmosphere of the early European Renaissance. He works in the style of the old masters, applying layer upon layer with a very refined technique that compliments his ability for realistic detail. Triegel’s paintings are a celebration of pure figurative painting, with classic religious and profane motifs, which look like altarpieces but, at the same time, appear alienating and surreal.

In 2010, Michael Triegel, commissioned by the Bishop of Regensburg, painted the official portrait of Pope Benedict XVI, which resulted in international recognition of his work.

Romer Kitching

Paintings by Romer Kitching

Born in London in 1995, painter Romer Kitching began drawing at an early age. From 2015 to 2018, he received his formal education at the Florence Academy of Art, a school which offers classical training in the Realist style. Having been trained daily in the aspects of form, anatomy, and the effects of light, Kitching now paints exclusively from live models.

Romer Kitching currently resides in Cèret, a communal town in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of southern France. Having visited the area from the age of fourteen, he considers it his home and has painted many ‘open air’ landscapes of the area. Painting to capture the different elements of the area, Kitching pays particular attention to the broken light and the dappled shadows in the scene.

Romer Kitching produced a number of academic portraits during his time at the Florence Academy, using live models to increase his skills. In addition to this work, he has painted more intimate, stylized portraits of family members and friends. 

Romer Kitching’s website is located at:

Andreas Leissner

Paintings by Andreas Leissner

Born in Berlin in 1978, Andreas Leissner is a figurative painter of the realist style, who documents the isolation of humans in the modern world, using strict, controlled, almost stolid images. In his more recent works, he finds his points of reference in the great works of European occidental culture, recognizable in the themes of his paintings.

From 1996 to 1998, Andreas Leissner studied with figurative realist painter André Krigar. He later studied, from 1999 to 2004, under painter and graphic artist Volker Stelzmann at Berlin’s University of the Arts. After graduating with his MFA in 2004, Leissner began a career as a freelance artist. 

Andreas Leissner has exhibited solely and in group shows in galleries and museums  including: the Karl Ernst Osthaus Museum in Hagen; the Art Association of Plön, Germany; the Art Association of Mainz; and the historical Spandau Citadel in Berlin.

Based in Brandenburg, Germany, Andreas Leissner is represented by Gallery KK, founded in 1983 by Klaus Kiefer and located in Essen, Germany. The gallery is focused on figurative contemporary art. It is located at:

Andreas Leissner’s website is located at:

Claudio Bravo Camus

Claudio Bravo Camus, “Antes del Juego (Before the Game)”, 1983, Oil on Canvas, 199 x 239 cm

Born in 1936, Chilean-born artist Claudio Bravo initially established himself as a society portrait painter in Chile and Spain, but he became better known for his vibrant still lifes of such everyday items as packages, crumpled paper, and draped fabric. Although he lived in Morocco for many years, it was the Spanish classical masters who inspired the provocative style of his hyperrealist paintings.

Though Bravo had some training under Chilean artist Miguel Venegas Cifuentes, he was primarily self-taught. He was only 17 years old when he had his first exhibition in 1954 at Salón 13 in Valparaíso. In the early 1960s Bravo moved to Spain, where he made his living painting portraits on commission, including pictures of Gen. Francisco Franco’s family members.

Bravo had his first New York City show in 1970. Two years later he settled in Tangier, Morocco, where he began to paint landscapes and animals as well as still lifes and portraits. His paintings regularly sold for impressive sums, with his 1967 “White Package” fetching more than $1 million in 2004. Bravo was, although, little known in Chile until a 1994 retrospective exhibition of his work at the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts. He passed away in June of 2011 in Taroudant, Morocco.

Joseph Hirsch

Joseph Hirsch, “Mercy Ship”, 1943, Oil on Canvas, 122 x 97 cm , US Navy Art Collection

Born in Philadelphia in 1910, Joseph Hirsch, after winning a four-year scholarship from the city of Philadelphia at the age of seventeen, studied the realist tradition of painter Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, now the University of the Arts. After graduation, he studied privately in New York City under social realist painter George Luks, a founder of the Ashcan School of painting and one of the “Eight”, a group which favored painting scenes of urban life.

After the death of George Luks  in 1933, Hirsch studied with painter Henry Hensche, who impressed with the colors of the impressionists, had started his own studio in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The awarding of a Woolley Fellowship in 1935 enabled Hirsch to expand his experiences by traveling  throughout Europe for one year, also visiting Egypt and areas of Asia, before returning to the United States in November of 1936. During the 1930s, Joseph Hirsch’s art career received a boost through employment by the Works Progress Administration in Philadelphia, where he completed murals for the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Building and the Municipal Court.

As a member of the Associated American Artists, during World War II, Hirsch worked for Abbott Laboratories, producing artworks to illustrate the war effort, including the most widely produced war bond poster, his 1942 “Till We Meet Again”. Continuing his style of capturing ordinary people and moments, Hirsch worked with fellow artist Georges Schreiber at the Pensacola Naval Air Station documenting Naval aviation training. From there he went to the South Pacific to document the efforts of Navy medicine and, later, covered Army operations on the Italian front and in North Africa.

Joseph Hirsch was a founding member of the Artists Equity, organized in 1949 in New York City to protect the rights of visual artists. Awarded a 1949 Fulbright Fellowship, Hirsch and his family traveled to France. to study and work. During this time the political climate in the United States became hostile to those holding unpopular views, leading to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s speech in 1950 denouncing Communists in the US State Department. Hirsch, awarded a year extension on his Fellowship, sold his Cape Cod home and remained with his family in Paris. 

In March of 1952, Congressman George Dondero denounced Artist Equity as a front organization for Communists on the floor of the House of Representatives. This led to the blacklisting of a number of Artist Equity member artists and the denouncement of Hirsch as a Communist sympathizer. As a result, Hirsch and his family did not return to the United States until 1955. After his return, Hirsch continued his successful career, selling paintings and working on commissions. In the 1960s to 1970s, Hirsch experimented by using a series of layered image planes, instead of lines of perspective, to suggest depth on his canvases. This series of figurative images appear as snapshots, capturing its subjects in mid-action instead of posed postions.

Joseph Hirsch taught at the National Academy of Design from 1959 to 1967, and at the Art Students League of New York from 1967 until his death in September of 1981, He was also artist-in-residence a the University of Utah, Utah State University, Dartmouth College and Brigham Young University. The Library of Congress twice awarded him the Joseph Pennell Prize for Lithography for his 1944 “Lunch Hour” and the 1945 “The Confidence”. Among many other awards, he won the 1968 Carnegie Prize by the Carnegie Museum of Art for his body of work.

Note: Joseph Hirsch’s 1943 “Mercy Ship” depicts the U.S. Navy Hospital ship, USS Solace, with its crew. Functioning as a floating medical treatment facility, the Navy’s hospital ships operated under the laws laid down by the Geneva Convention, as such they were unarmed, fully illuminated at night, and painted white. 

Built as the passenger ship SS Iroquois in 1927, it was acquired by the US Navy in July of 1940, renamed Solace, converted into a hospital ship, and commissioned on August 9, 1941. She was at Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack, December 7th of 1941, where she pulled men from the burning oil-covered water and evacuated crews of damaged ships. The USS Solace received seven battle stars for her distinguished service in World War II.

Image Insert: Joseph Hersch, “Satisfaction Plus”, 1943, Oil on Canvas, Naval History and Heritage Command