Oil Painters of America

Elmhurst, IL




OPA: Advocates for Representational Art


Oil Painters of America Representational (OPA), a well-established national organization, is devoted to the protection of representational traditional oil painting. Though there have been many national watercolor and pastel societies, this is the first time in history that there has ever been a national oil painters society in the United States. The principal reason behind the swelling of the ranks of this national organization OPA, was the great need for preventing a further decline of this beautiful form of art.

Founders were witnesses to the fact that the curricula in American educational facilities told the disturbing story that representational oil painting was rarely being taught in colleges and universities anymore. The avant-garde has taken over since the 1960s. While OPA had no quarrel with abstract art, members were also witnesses to the undeniable fact that America's great art museums were almost totally lacking in the presentation of contemporary great masters of representational oil painting.

OPA feels that members have made great strides in giving a renaissance or rebirth to this great craft, and now see on the horizon the return of interest in its instruction and teaching. OPA membership is now in the thousands.

The premier national juried show of Oil Painters of America Representational was held at Arnold Besse's Prince Gallery in Chicago, Illinois, April 1992. The nation's top 200 oil painters displayed their works in this show. The judges were Ted Goerschner, Joyce Pike and Charles Vickery.

The second national show was held at The Studio of Long Grove, Illinois, May 1993. The Governor of Illinois, Jim Edgar, and Mrs. Edgar graciously consented to be OPA's hosts. During Governor Edgar's opening comments, he stated that he was pleased to view art that he could relate to and understand. Show judges were Ramon Kelley and Dan Gerhartz.

The third national show was held again in Long Grove in May 1994. The show judge was Cyrus Afsary. The Best of Show award was $3000. The fourth and fifth national shows were held at the Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art, San Antonio, Texas. The 1995 show judges were Ken Carlson and Zhang Wen Xin. The 1996 show judge was Ron S. Riddick. OPA presented a $10,000 award for the Best in Show in 1995 and 1996. The 1998 show was held at The P&C Gallery in Washington, DC. Regional shows continue to be held throughout the country every year. (left: Thomas Jefferson Kitts, Ancient Grove, exhibited at an OPA Regional show)

Demos and workshops are in the future. Funding contributions to promote good representational art are always needed and appreciated. Funding is tax deductible as OPA is a not-for-profit organization. OPA continues to have an annual national exhibition as well as regional shows with the goal of providing an opportunity for the public to see some of the best representational oil painting available. See their website for places and dates.

Address: P. O. Box 887, Elmhurst, IL 60126-0887

Article updated 9/1/99, 1/8/01

rev. 11/20/10

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