John Singleton Copley
John Singleton Copley (1738-1815) of Boston moved to London in 1774 because all of his family’s ties were with those loyal to the British Crown. John Copley never returned to America, but he is still considered the most gifted and influential of all painters from the Colonial Period. The Neoclassical painting below is based on a true story that occurred in the harbor at Havana.
Charles Bird King
Charles Bird King (1785-1862) of Rhode Island is best known for the over 100 portraits he painted of American Indians, on a commission from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. This is ironic, since the father of Charles King was scalped and killed by a group of Native Americans when he was four years old.
Archibald Willard (1836-1918) of Ohio fought in the Civil War.
The painting below was inspired by a veteran’s parade he attended.
Archibald Willard used his own father as the model for the middle figure.
This painting is currently displayed in the State Department.
William Harnett (1848-1892) of Philadelphia developed an oft-imitated style known as trompe l’oeil (fool the eye).
The still life paintings of ordinary objects by William Harnett are so realistic that they have been mistaken for the actual articles.
Daniel Ridgway Knight
Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839-1924) of Philadelphia specialized in painting peasant women outdoors. He moved to France in 1872, and there he lived out his days. It is easy to notice the finely detailed figures, acute attention to landscape portrayal, and subdued use of light and color, of Daniel Ridgway Knight.
Charles Marion Russell
Charles Marion Russell (1864-1926) grew up in Missouri, and lived most of his adult life in the state of Montana. He is best known for the over 2,000 paintings he created of cowboys, Indians, and western landscapes. “The Cowboy Artist” Charles Marion Russell was also a sculptor and author.
Thomas Hart Benton
Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) was born into a prominent Missouri family.
He was a leader of the Regionalist art movement, and also a famous art teacher.
Thomas Hart Benton painted scenes from everyday America life with a fluid, sculpted style.
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954) grew up in New Jersey, and lived his adult life in New York City. His work is called Social Realism. Reginald Marsh was famous for painting scenes that depicted the lives of the lower class members of society. He also worked extensively as an illustrator for newspapers and magazines.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) of New York City may be the most beloved artist in American history. Art critics sneered at his work, considering his paintings to be nothing more than sentimentalized, unrealistic portrayals of American life. Those poor reviews were unfair because at that time art critics lived on the coasts, and were unaware of the America portrayed in Rockwell’s 4,000 paintings; Rockwell’s America was quite real.
Richard Estes (b. 1932) is from Illinois. He is not only one of the founders, but also the acknowledged grand master of the photorealist movement. Richard Estes used photographs to create paintings of clean, inanimate cityscapes that appear to be photographs. Since 1962, he has lived in Spain.
Ernie Barnes (1938-2009) was a professional football player turned neo-mannerist painter from North Carolina. The painting in this gallery was used as an album cover by Marvin Gaye, and in the closing credits of the television program Good Times, on which Ernie Barnes appeared several times.
Thomas Kinkade (b. 1958) of California is the “Painter of Light.” He specializes in bucolic, idyllic scenes, painted with glowing highlights and saturated colors. Art critics loathe him as a purveyor of kitsch, but he is the best selling painter of all time. Regular people simply love the spiritual expressions of this devout Christian. It is said that 1 out of 20 homes in America have at least one piece of art created by Thomas Kinkade.