Through Lack’s constant support for Classical Realism, new ateliers were established in North America and Europe by his colleagues and students. The Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts, (1976), Studio Cecil-Graves in Florence (1983), and the New York Academy of Arts (1982) were just some of the numerous ateliers started in this period. As his fame grew, Lack received commissions to paint portraits of the Earl of Wilmot’s wife and several Kennedy family members. Classical Realism became recognized by elite patrons as a civilized, tasteful alternative to contemporary art. Additionally, the leading Classical Realist artists Jacob Collins and Graydon Parrish have painted President George H.W. Bush, Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger and J. Paul Getty. In particular, Graydon Parrish has emerged as one of Classical Realism’s greatest current talents. His remarkable early work, Remorse, Despondence and the Acceptance of an Early Death (1999), allegorically represents the AIDS epidemic while displaying his skillful academic techniques. Most recently, Parrish completed his The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy (2005), which depicts the September 11th terrorist attack. Currently exhibited at the New Britain Museum of Art in Connecticut, it draws visitors from across the world. Though their works, Parrish and his contemporaries continue to increase awareness of Classical Realism.
Currently, a network of persevering ateliers provide the necessary training to artists who desire to simply ‘paint as the Old Masters did’. The Grand Central Academy of Art and New York Academy of Art in Manhattan and the School of Representational Art in Chicago offer the best training for emerging Classical Realist artists. There are also smaller ateliers in far-flung cities such as Seattle, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. In the United Kingdom, the London School of Representational Art in Clapham constitutes a healthy and growing traditional subculture within British art. In Europe, Charles Cecil Studios and Angel Academy of Art in Florence and Studio Escalier in Paris offer training for Continental artists. These ateliers regularly communicate with one another and are united by their love for traditional painting.
Classical Realist artists are also represented by an array of galleries in America and Western Europe. Foremost, Hirschl & Adler Galleries in New York and W.H. Patterson Gallery in London constitute the major sellers of their works. W.H. Patterson Gallery proved influential in the successful introduction of Classical Realism into the British art market. Operating from their Mayfair base on Albemarle Street, they successfully represent major traditional painters including Trevor Heath and John Batty. Regularly staging selected exhibitions of important artists, the gallery is a haven for traditional art collectors. Hirschl & Adler performs the same vital function in Manhattan as Patterson Gallery and also stages vital exhibitions. Representing important Classical Realists such as Graydon Parrish and Frederick Brosen, they are a refreshing change from the contemporary art of Chelsea galleries. Any serious art patron would be wise to enquire with both galleries for purchases and establishing contacts with the artists. While these galleries are the major vendors in both cities, there exist other smaller galleries where Classical Realist art can be found.
Increasingly, discerning people are turning to Classical Realist art and assisting this movement’s efforts through their own support and connoisseurship. Incorporating elements of the Symbolist, Orientalist and Academic legacies, it promises to both continue and refine remarkable achievement within representational painting. Such works command both attention and respect from perceptive collectors and the interested public.
Gjertson, Stephen. Richard F. Lack: An American Master, American Society of Classical Realism: 2001.
Panero, James: "The New Old School", The New Criterion, Volume 25, September 2006.
Gammell, R. H. Ives. Twilight of Painting; An Analysis of Recent Trends to Serve in a Period of Reconstruction. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1945.
Ackerman, Gerald M. and Elizabeth Ives Hunter. Transcending Vision: R. H. Ives Gammell 1893-1981. Portland, Oregon: Powells Books, 2001