Nelson Shanks: Portraits and Studio Paintings

November 30, 2011 - January 27, 2012 Back to Exhibitions

Green Girl, 2007 
oil on canvas
34 x 20 1/8 inches
Green Girl, 2007
oil on canvas
34 x 20 1/8 inches

Press Release

Nelson Shanks: Portraits and Studio Paintings


November 30, 2011 - January 27, 2012
Berry-Hill Galleries is pleased to announce its forthcoming exhibition, Nelson Shanks: Portraits and Studio Paintings. The exhibition, which will include approximately 20 paintings, is the first solo exhibition of the artist's work to be held in New York in fifty years. Known world-wide for his commissions of prominent subjects such as H.R.H. Diana Princess of Wales, His Holiness John Paul II, and President William J. Clinton, Nelson Shanks is arguably the most important portrait painter in generations. Complimenting his commissioned work are studio paintings depicting a variety of subjects ranging from female nudes, still life, and highly complex compositions which incorporate various props and bric-a-brac from the artist's collection. According to D. Dodge Thompson, Chief of Exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., "Nelson Shanks is the most notable banner carrier of Grand Manner painting today (as well as) the most talented contemporary traditional portraitist."

Educated in New York and Europe, Nelson Shanks' work draws influences from many painters and periods. An avid student of the Italian Renaissance, one can see elements in his work that recall masters from the 16th and 17th Centuries. More modern influences appear in portraits and studio interiors that evoke the turn of the century elegance of John Singer Sargent as well as the mastery of his mentor, Post-War 20th Century Realist, John Koch with a depth of emotion showing influence of paintings from Ribera to Balthus and Freud.

An accomplished teacher, Nelson Shanks has instructed art students for decades at influential institutions like the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Students League, the National Academy of Design, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. More recently, Nelson Shanks established the Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia to further the appreciation and instruction of realist painting. Among his recent accomplishments and awards are the Governor's Distinguished Arts Award presented in 2006 by Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, and the National Arts Club 2010 Gold Medal Visual Arts Award given in New York.

In the summer of 2011, the Russian Government organized a Nelson Shanks retrospective in St. Petersburg and Moscow. The artist became only the second living American painter to be given such an exhibition. Currently, plans are underway for a 2012 Chinese multi-museum retrospective to be held in several cities including Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.