The American Society of Classical Realism

Artist Guild members of the Society of Classical Realism are planning a traveling museum exhibition, scheduled to start in 2000, focusing on the passing down of classical techniques from master teacher to student, and the preservation of classical styles during the 20th century. Below are representative artists and styles of art that will be included in the tour. These are among the finest examples of American realist art by living artists.


From left to right: Peter Bougie, The Fly Fisherman, 1994, oil on canvas, 26 x 28 inches, collection of David and Sharon Jasper; Robert Douglas Hunter, Arrangement with Table and Oriental Rug, 1994, oil on canvas, 25 x 46 inches; Robert Douglas Hunter, A Tribute to William M. Paxton, 1992, oil on canvas, 34 x 44 inches, private collection; Robert Moore, Bird Stand, 1994, oil on canvas, 25 x 46 inches.


From left to right: Robert Moore, Still Life, 1996, oil on canvas, 47 x 33 inches; Brian Lewis, Figure Study, 1996, oil on canvas, 30 x 44 inches, private collection; Brian Lewis, First Born, 1997, oil on canvas, 28 x 36 inches, private collection; Kirk Richards, Starting a New Ristra, 1994, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.


Guild members of the Society:


From left to right: Kirk Richards, Blue Corn, 1996, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches; Don Koestner, Rattlesnake Bluff, 1982, oil on canvas, 20 x 30 inches, collection of Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Gumucio; Richard F. Lack, Moonrise over Minnesota River Valley, 1989, oil on canvas, 30 x 36 inches, collection of Gary and Laurie Christensen; Peter Bougie, Dusk, 1995, oil on canvas, 21 x 30 inches.



The history of Western European art records an uncompromising pursuit of excellence. The masters of each generation sought to perfect their art, then bequeathed their accumulated knowledge and expertise to the next generation. The accomplishments of one generation often set new standards of excellence for the next. Throughout the centuries there existed a generally recognized artistic standard. To differentiate this standard or tradition of excellence from others, we call it "classical realism".

Classical realism encompasses the highest principles of traditional representational art from the ancient Greeks to the present day. These principles include fine drawing, balanced design, harmonious colors and skillful craftsmanship. At its foundation is the representation of the visible world as seen through the trained eye of the artist. For centuries, the artist's craft and the ability to "see" were passed from master to pupil through the apprenticeship system. Ultimately, in 19th century France the atelier system developed, educating students in conjunction with the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Genesis of ASCR:

In 1989 a group of professional artists (whose link to classical realism comes from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts through William McGregor Paxton) formed The American Society of Classical Realism to preserve and promote this distinguished heritage. Because the 20th century art world has generally opposed traditional realism, these artists recognized the need for a national organization through which concerned individuals and corporations could support traditional representational art.

From left to right: Peter Bougie, Queen Anne's Lace, 1992, oil on canvas, 24 x 32 inches, collection of Pharmacia Deltec Corp.; Michael Chelich, Governor Evan Bayh, 1993, oil on canvas, 46 x 36 inches, collection of Indiana State Capitol, Governor's Office; Frank Mason, Marguerite, 1975, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches, collection of the artist; Steven Levin, Winter Interior, 1996, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches, private collection.

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This page was originally published in 1998 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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