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Portrait Painting in the Boston Tradition: An Interview with Richard F. Lack (1928-2009)

By Stephen Gjertson
Portrait painting is a difficult and sometimes exasperating art. To survive, the portrait painter must be talented, flexible, thick-skinned and tenacious: talented enough to meet the artistic and creative demands of fine portraiture, flexible enough to balance artistic ideals with the realities of the profession in the modern world, thick-skinned enough to take [...]

Hippolyte Flandrin (1809-1864): A Nineteenth Century Master, Part IV

By Stephen Gjertson
The Return to Rome
Flandrin had completed the nave of Saint Germain-des-Prés and was preparing to paint the transept when, in the fall of 1863, he decided to return to Rome. He had desired to make this trip since he had left the Villa Medici twenty-five years earlier. Illness pressed more and more heavily [...]

Hippolyte Flandrin: A Nineteenth Century Master, Part III

By Stephen Gjertson
The Church of Saint Martin d’Ainay in Lyons
In 1854 Flandrin completed his work in Saint Vincent-de-Paul. The following year he was engaged in a similar undertaking for the Church of Saint Martin d’Ainay in his hometown of Lyons. In July of 1855, aided by Louis Lamothe and Jean-Baptiste Poncet, Flandrin began work in [...]

Hippolyte Flandrin: A Nineteenth Century Master, Part II

By Stephen Gjertson

The Portrait Painter
Flandrin was a prolific portrait painter. In an age that boasted many fine portrait painters he became one of the most esteemed and sought-after. This fact, however, eventually proved to be more of an irritation to him than a blessing. His portrait career began modestly with relatives of fellow Prix de [...]

Hippolyte Flandrin: A Nineteenth Century Master, Part I

By Stephen Gjertson
In 1857, seven years before the artist’s death, the eminent French art critic, Edmund About, wrote of Hippolyte Flandrin, “If posterity is just it will call him ‘Flandrin without fault.’ . . .” Unfortunately, posterity has not been just and Flandrin, who was one of the truly great artists of the 19th century, [...]

Jean-Paul Laurens

A Late 19th Century Master
Born in Fourquevaux, France (near Toulouse) on March 28, 1838, Jean-Paul Laurens came from a very modest background and started his career as a simple color grinder for an itinerant Piedmontese master. In 1854 he went on to receive training under Jean Blaise Willemsens at the École des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse [...]

Pictorial Design

An Outline of Basic Principles
By Stephen Gjertson and Annette LeSueur
Dedicated to Richard F. Lack (1929-2009)
Artist, Teacher, Writer, Mentor, Friend
Annette LeSueur and I developed this material over a period of several years. While teaching at Atelier Lack, we often discussed the principles of pictorial design. We perceived design as the primary weakness of work done by [...]

Richard Lack’s Most Important Work

Richard Lack considered Triptych and The Interior Journey his most important works. He worked on these two series of paintings for over thirty years. He had learned of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung while studying with Boston artist R. H. Ives Gammell, who painted two significant and ground breaking series of paintings utilizing symbols and concepts [...]

The Paris Opéra: Charles Garnier’s Opulent Architectural Masterpiece


Frontiers of Enchantment: The Outdoor Studies of William R. Leigh

By Stephen Gjertson
For some of those interested in art of the American West, the name of William R. Leigh conjures up dramatic images of bucking broncos, buffalo stampedes, Indian fights and cowboys riding hell-bent-for-leather. Others see gentle images of everyday Navaho and Hopi Indian life in the Southwest: mothers and children, goat herders, weavers or [...]