by Dr. Lori Verderame
Contemporary Realism is the prevalent American art movement. Many art historians agree that we are currently experiencing a Realist Revival and as such I’ve appraised many of contemporary realist works demonstrating the current collecting interest in the new Realist movement.
Contemporary Realists have lived up to writer Stephen Crane’s description of the true artist as “the man who leaves pictures of his own time” as Crane could have been describing the contributions of American artists including Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, Cecilia Beaux, Andrew Wyeth, Grant Wood, Edward Hopper, Chuck Close, Jamie Wyeth, Vincent Desiderio, Chris Wright, David Graeme Baker, Frank Lind, Bo Bartlett, and Sidney Goodman. Portraits of the world around us are what we love about Realism.
In the 1880s, Thomas Eakins advocated Realism during his tenure as a professor at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and more than a century later, Philadelphia, PA remains a center for Realist art.
The Bartlett exhibition at PAFA was magical and dazzling. Bartlett’s painterly and heroic works were engaging. Viewers enter Bartlett’s world of close-knit images of family and friends, quiet homes and active studios in suburban Philadelphia, PA and on Wheaton Island, ME. Intensely focused still life paintings, gouaches, and drawings by Bartlett were breathtaking.
Bartlett’s work pay homage to the masters the human form such as Andrew Wyeth and Nelson Shanks constantly hear people downplay contemporary painting as uninformed or inexplicable, I know that Bartlett’s compositions thrill audiences.