Thursday, April 25, 2013

Why Contemporary Portraiture Shouldn’t Show Its Face

I was asked to write an article on contemporary portraiture for

Todays 'art' public is totally unsophisticated. They see paintings laboriously copied from photographs and think that it is art. In fact most often they think the greatest compliment they can give a realist or portrait artist is- "oh- that looks just like a photograph"- often followed by- " I couldn't tell the difference- you are so talented".

Our 'portraitists' comply. We are no longer Rembrandts, Vermeers, Van Dycks, Gainsboroughs or John Singer Sargents. Many think that they are.

There are few with the courage today to paint with conviction. Most are photocopiers with a long list of excuses.

These painters are walking the walk. If anyone has other suggestions let me know.

Steven Assael
Jacob Collins
Nocolas Uribe

Assael and Uribe not only have skill but push the envelope of realism into the 21 st with grace and intelligence. They are not just rehashing the old masters.

Not all the pictures could  make it into the publication. So here are more of them here.

John Singer Sargent

William McGregor Paxton

Frank W. Benson

Edmund Tarbell

Joseph Rodefer DeCamp

Bill and Melinda Gates

Polly Thayer Starr

John Singer Sargent "Teddy Roosevelt"

John Howard Sanden "George Bush"

"Pinkie" Sir Thomas Lawrence

"Blue Boy" by Gainsborough

"Mrs. Thomas Graham"  Gainsborough

I have reused some to make my points clear.
If anyone thinks that much contemporary portraiture is any match for the past- perhaps they should spend some time in really good museums or get new eyeglass prescriptions.

By the by- I expect I will have few friends in the portrait community left by now.

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