A Realism to Realism

By Kolpas, Norman | Southwest Art, January 2001 | Go to article overview

A Realism to Realism


Kolpas, Norman, Southwest Art


Representational art may be the hot new movement of the 21st century

A century and a half ago, an artistic movement widely known as Realism developed in France under the brushes of such artists as Gustave Courbet, Jean Francois Millet, and Honore Daumier. They reacted to the prevailing Romanticism of their day by portraying what they saw as real life, from the toil of country folk to the plight of urban dwellers. Realism, in turn, paved the way for the turn-of-the-century Impressionist movement, which used everyday life as subject matter for artworks that presented reality in a ravishing new light.

Then, as surely as World War I ravaged Europe, that era's advent of modernism abruptly overshadowed some seven decades of realistic art. Cubism, Fauvism, expressionism, minimalism, surrealism, abstraction, and a host of other movements marching under the modernist banner captivated the imaginations of collectors, teachers, and critics alike. These anti-realists came to dominate the world of 20th-century art.

But Realism never died. You might say, instead, that it went underground: taught in a few diehard schools and ateliers; practiced by a small cadre of dedicated artists; sold by galleries, bought by collectors, and shown by a handful of museums that still saw true value in representational art.

And today, at the dawn of a new century, Realism has emerged anew. As representational art enjoys tremendous restored popularity nationwide, we examine its resurgence through the keen perceptions of the people most closely involved in its revival: the gallery owners, artists and teachers, auction experts, and museum curators who have kept the movement alive and nurtured it back to thriving new prominence.

The Gallery Perspective

"When I moved to San Francisco 25 years ago, there were no galleries dealing in Realist art, except by dead artists," says John Pence, owner of John Pence Gallery, one of the nation's leading outposts of Realism. "It really was lonely when I opened because our shows never received any press locally. Realism has been nearly a taboo subject, and the press's most powerful weapon is to ignore you. If they denounced you, it would be fun."

That said, Pence's devotion to such representational artists as Randall Lake, Dean Larson, Dorothy Morgan, and Jacob Collins has paid off, particularly with collectors' rising interest in recent years. "The market is definitely continuing to grow, with our business now increasing about 15 to 20 percent each year," Pence says.

The growth has been even more dramatic at van de Griff Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, according to Klaudia Marr, its director for the past four years. "The market for Realism is unbelievably thriving. Our sales of Realist work have increased about 40 percent in the last year," she says, pointing out that the gallery actually has waiting lists for works by artists like William Barnes, David Hines, Robert Brawley, and John Nava.

Such demand may be attributed, in part, to the many new collectors who have prospered in the recent economic good times. "A lot of young, first-time buyers are comfortable with Realism," observes Tom Carson, who opened Carson Gallery in Denver, CO, 28 years ago. Adds David Katz, owner of Coda Gallery-which has branches in Palm Desert, CA, Park City, UT, and New York City"-People want something they can relate to. They're finally getting away from buying with their ears just because some critics-who don't know what they're talking about half the time-say that a particular kind of art is being bought by museums."

The Artist's Perspective

Whether through neglect or out-and-out dismissal by most modernist-minded critics, Realist artists often suffered through the middle to late decades of the 20th century.

"At parties in New York in the late 1970s, if I told people I was doing representational art they would walk to the other side of the room," recalls Gary Faigin, a magical realist painter and founder of the Seattle Academy of Fine Art. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Realism to Realism
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.