Realism in American Art and American Realist Artists



This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "Realism in American Art and American Realist Artists." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section.

After articles and essays published in TFAO's Resource Library are are links to valuable online resources found outside our website. Links may be to museums' articles about exhibits, plus much more topical information based on our online searches.

Following online resources is information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles.


Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order:






From other web sites:

Along His Own Lines: A Retrospective of New York Realist Eugene Speicher, an exhibit held February 5, 2014 - July 13, 2014 at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art. Includes essay by Valerie Ann Leeds. Accessed December, 2015.

The American Pre-Raphaelites: Radical Realists is a 2019 exhibit at the National Gallery of Art which says: "In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of John Ruskin (1819-1900), the most influential art critic of the Victorian era, the Gallery presents more than 90 paintings, watercolors, and drawings created by American artists who were profoundly influenced by Ruskin's call for a revolutionary change in the practice of art."   Also see press release.  Accessed 7/19

American realism, from Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

Charles Rain, Painter was a 1982 exhibit at the Sheldon Museum of Art. Viewers may download the exhibition catalog. Accessed 1/17 See also RL's Charles Rain: Magic Realism (8/14/99)

Beyond Realism: The Works of Kent Bellows 1970-2005, an exhibit held 9/25/2010 - 1/16/2011 at the Joslyn Art Museum. Accessed February, 2015

"Classical Realism, A Living Artistic Tradition" by Stephen Gjertson, from Art Renewal Center. Accessed August, 2015.

Colleen Browning: The Early Works was a 2013 exhibit at the Bellarmine Museum of Art which says in its press release:  "Colleen Browning had the ability to endow scenes from everyday life with touches of "magic realism." She played an instrumental role in the establishment of American Realism, a movement that was dominated by men in the mid-twentieth century. A leader in the modern and post-modern revivals of realism in American art, Browning was a painter whose oeuvre defies easy categorization. At a time when Jackson Pollock and avant-garde American artists were abandoning realism in favor of Abstract Expressionism, Browning stayed true to her Realist vision as well as her training as a figurative painter." Accessed 1/17 Also see RL's Colleen Browning at Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (7/21/12)

Contemporary Realism,America, Emerged in the Late 1960's/Early 1970's, from Includes artists list. Accessed August, 2015.

D. J. Hall: Selected Works 1974 - 2012, an exhibit held November 28, 2012 - March 31, 2013 at the California Heritage Museum. Accessed December, 2015

Face to Face: Artists' Self-Portraits from the Collection of Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr. was a 2014-5 exhibit at the Baker Museum which says: "Narcissism, experimentation, practice, storytelling, self-promotion, personal quest... There are many reasons that artists have for centuries felt the need to portray themselves. A prominent theme in the history of art, self-portraiture has followed the evolution of self-consciousness and metaphysics." Accessed 1/17

A Formal Realist: The Work of John Dubrow, an exhibit held March 1 - May 19, 2013 at the Demuth Museum. Includes press coverage. Accessed 9/14

"Gammell and His Students" by Peter Bougie, from Art Renewal Center. Accessed August, 2015.

George Boorujy: Solo Exhibition was a 2014-5 exhibit at the Baker Museum which says: "Drawing on the longstanding tradition of artists and naturalists composing highly realistic renderings of life on earth, Boorujy creates works that advance this practice, imbuing his subjects with human-like expression and encouraging a relationship between the work and the viewer." Accessed 1/17

Harold Reddicliffe: Paintings from Three Decades, an exhibit held November, 2010 at the Boston University Art Gallery. Accessed August, 2015.

"Hirschl & Adler: Realism Revisited, The Florence Academy of Art" by Sherry L. Ross, from Art Renewal Center. Accessed 5/15

How to Make a World: Jaron Childs, an exhibit held January 17 - March 30, 2014 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Includes exhibit brochure and video interview. Accessed March, 2015

LUSTER: Realism & Hyperrealism in Contemporary Autombile & Motorcycle Painting is a 2018 exhibit at the Dane G. Hansen Museum which says: "LUSTER features paintings of passenger automobiles from those boom years and since, plus a range of motorcycles and racing vehicles while paying tribute to America's love affair with cars and motorcycles." Also see illustrated checklist and brochure from David J. Wagner, Ph.D.  See Past Exhibits page after exhibit closes. Accessed 9/18

Magic Realism 1943 to 1950's, from Includes artists list. Accessed August, 2015.

Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection is an ongoing online exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum which says: "The Sara Roby Foundation began collecting American art in the mid-1950s and over the next thirty years assembled a premier group of paintings and sculpture by the country's leading figurative artists. A painter herself, Roby sought out art broadly defined as realist and artists concerned with principles of form and design that she had learned as an art student, first in Philadelphia and later in New York." Accessed 8/17

"Painter Jacob Collins Looks Outside the Art World to Build an Audience for 'Classical Realism'" by Judith H. Dobrzynski, The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2022 Accessed 3/22

Photo Realism from askArt. Accessed August, 2015.

"Nelson Shanks: Humanist Realist" by Kathryn Manzo, from Art Renewal Center. Accessed 5/15

Realism from askArt. Accessed August, 2015.

Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective, an exhibit held Jun 26, 2005 - Aug 28, 2005 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Accessed March, 2015.

Social Realism -America, 1930's, from

Realism Now: Traditions & Departures, Mentors and Protégés; 46 pages; 54 color, 1 b&w plate; Nov. 2003; Realism Now: Traditions & Departures, Mentors and Protégés, Part II; 46 pages; 52 color, 2 b&w plate; May 2004, from Vose Galleries. Other catalogs also available online. Accessed August, 2015.

Realist Prints and Drawings by Robert Henri and His Circle, an exhibit held January 9 - May 16, 2006 at the Brooklyn Museum. From the Brooklyn Museum website. Information includes exhibit highlights. Accessed August, 2015.

Richard Estes' Realism is an ongoing online exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum which says: "This online gallery presents selections from the exhibition Richard Estes' Realism. Estes' accomplishments over a fifty-year career as one of America's premier realist artists reveal an insatiable curiosity about the world around him." Accessed 8/17

Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World was a 2016 exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum whcih says: "Rockwell was working at a time when he and other figurative painters like Andrew Wyeth were criticized for their predilection for visual storytelling. In The Connoisseur, Rockwell had cause to defend himself against his detractors and take a good-humored poke at the pieties surrounding abstract painting. In the 1950s, there was heated debate about the relative merits of abstract art, realist art, and illustration art, and Rockwell was frequently caught in the crossfire. Clement Greenberg, one of the most vocal critics of the period and a champion of Pollock and other New York School artists, set the conversation's terms. He argued for aesthetic complexities and challenges of abstract art while protesting the cheapened kitsch culture that he felt dominated America. In Greenberg s lexicon, Rockwell's illustrations were kitsch, popular accessible artworks that appealed to the masses. When such popular forms become the dominant taste, Greenberg argued, the high arts are challenged to flourish and survive a danger in a society as populist and commercial as the United States." See images, press reviews and videos; a 58 min YouTube video "Opening Event: Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World" by NRM; 6 min YouTube video ""Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World" exhibition video" by NRM. Accessed 10/16

Ronald Christ: Poetic Fictions, an exhibit held September 16 - December 16, 2012 at the Ulrich Museum of Art. Includes gallery guide. Accessed May, 2015.

Stocked: Contemporary Art from the Grocery Aisles, an exhibit held January 19 - April 14, 2013 at the Ulrich Museum of Art. Includes artist biographies. Accessed August, 2015.

Strange Melancholy: The Magic Realism of Hazel Janicki is a 2016 exhibit at ARTneo which says: "Hazel Janicki's style can best be described as Magic Realism. Characterized by representational subject matter rendered with extreme realism and attention to detail, Magic Realism often also included elements of fantasy and the unknown, hinting at intense emotions and alternative suggestions that lie just below the surface." Also see article at Collective Arts Network. Accessed 2/17

Super Natural is a 2016 exhibit at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center which says: "Magic realism developed as an art movement in the years after World War I when many American artists began to explore the interconnections between the material and the imagined. Evidenced in literature, painting, and film, magic realism encompasses a range of subtly different concepts, yet all share an acceptance of the supernatural in an otherwise rational world." Accessed 2/19

To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America, an exhibit held March 11, 2011 - September 5, 2011 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Includes online blog, online video and press coverage. Accessed April, 2015.

Truth & Vision: 21st Century Realism is a 2016-17 exhibit at the Delaware Art Museum, which says: "Inspired by Robert C. Jackson's 2014 publication, Behind the Easel: The Unique Voices of 20 Contemporary Representational Painters, this exhibition surveys the state of realistic painting at the start of the 21st century. Indicative of this moment are two trends in representational painting -- the depiction of the natural world and the creation of fantastic imaginings." Accessed 10/16

Under Pressure: Painting with Air: A Survey of Contemporary Airbrush Realism is a 2021 exhibit at the Huntsville Museum of Art which says: "Don Eddy (born 1944) is a contemporary representational painter. He gained recognition in American art around 1970 amid a group of artists that critics and dealers identified as Photorealists or Hyperrealists, based on their work's high degree of verisimilitude and use of photography as a resource material. Eddy has worked in cycles, which treat various imagery from different formal and conceptual viewpoints, moving from detailed, formal images of automobile sections and storefront window displays in the 1970s to perceptually challenging mash-ups of still lifes and figurative/landscapes scenes in the 1980s to mysterious multi-panel paintings in his latter career."  Also see the website of the artist. Accessed 12/21

Urban Realism in American Art (1890 -1940) is a 2017 exhibit at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum which says: "Urban Realism in American Art includes Ashcan artists as well as others who shared an interest in urban realism. A majority of the art in the exhibition focuses on New York City, but several additions serve as reminders that artists elsewhere worked in a similar vein. Prominent artists featured in the show include Robert Henri, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, George Bellows, and John Sloan. The exhibition ends around 1940, reflecting the gradual decline in urban realist art as new and exciting currents in European modernism brought abstraction to the New York art world." Accessed 9/17

Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties, an exhibit held July 1, 2012 - September 16, 2012 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Includes 7:29 video of a conversation featuring Mark Cole, Associate Curator of American Painting and Sculpture, and several images of works in the exhibit. Accessed August, 2015.

Who is Imitating Whom? was a 2005-06 exhibit at the Sheldon Museum of Art which says: "This exhibition explores why photographers create art that takes on the qualities of painting and why painters go through the painstaking process of creating a painting that looks more like photography than the photograph itself." Viewers may download the exhibition brochure. Accessed 1/17

"Why Realism?" by Frederick Ross, February 7, 2014 Artists Keynote Address to Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists, from Art Renewal Center. Accessed August, 2015.

William Beckman: Drawings, 1967-2013 was a 2014 exhibit at the Columbus Museum, which said: "As one of the leading realist artists working in the United States, William Beckman is celebrated for the intimacy and emotional power of his figurative drawings. In the first major retrospective of his works on paper, this exhibition explores Beckman's primary subject matter: the individual." Also see William Beckman: Drawings, 1967-2013. Accessed 10/16.

Portland Museum of Art, Maine presents a review by Jessica May, Curator of Contemporay and Modern Art at PMA, of the exhibit Richard Estes' Realism The exhibit was held May 22, 2014 to September 7, 2014. [03:40] Accessed May, 2015.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art website contains as of 2013 an Interactive Features section with numerous video interviews including an interactive online feature, Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective, which contains videos. In one video the artist describes how he paints motion and stillness and in another he discusses still life vs. landscape painting. Accessed May, 2015.

Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art website features SAMA-TV which maintains a YouTube playlist of recordings of lectures and symposiums. As of October, 2013 videos included: Colleen Browning: The Enchantment of Realism (13:20); Colleen Browning: Symposium on 20th Century American Realism, Parts 1-13 (total runtime: approx. 2 hours, 23 minutes) Accessed May, 2015.


And these books

The Boston Painters, 1900-1930, by R. H. Ives Gammell

New Horizons in American Realism, By Christopher R. Young. Published 1991 by Flint Institute of Arts. 94 pages. ISBN 0939896117. Exhibition held at the Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Mich., June 2 - July 21, 1991 ; Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Fla., Nov. 24, 1991 - Jan. 20, 1992 ; and the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tenn., Feb. 1 - April 12, 1992. Book information courtesy of Google Books.

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