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Jacob Collins: Recent Work
August 24 - November 24, 2013
The New Britain Museum of American Art is exhibiting Jacob Collins: Recent Work in the Davis Gallery from August 24 through November 24, 2013. The exhibition is comprised of 24 works on loan from Adelson Galleries and private collectors. The selection includes recent portraits, landscapes, interiors, and still life in both oil and graphite. (right: Jacob Collins, Anna Nina Profile, detail, 2012, Oil on canvas, 22 x 19 inches. Courtesy of the Adelson Gallery)
Reflecting on his artistic inspiration Jacob Collins states, "Beauty is a set of ideas, it is vastly complicated...you have to understand what 'beauty' is to know why you think something is beautiful." It is this pursuit of beauty that motivates Collins to paint in a century-old tradition; he is interested in phenomena that are both observable and are independent of time.
Collins studied painting at the New York School, the New York Academy of Art, and the Art Students League. He continues to work and teach in New York City, where he has co-founded the Water Street Atelier, The Grand Central Academy of Art and the Hudson River Fellowship, all aimed toward classically training artists through rigorously painting from life, as well as studying technical perspective, anatomy, figure structure, painting methods and materials and art history.
Collins has been commissioned to paint many luminaries, including J. Paul Getty, Jr. and President George H.W. Bush, and to paint the Forbes family properties in Normandy, France. His work is represented in the permanent collections of Yale University, CT, the Fogg Art Museum, MA, Harvard University Art Museums, MA, Steinway Hall, NY and The Forbes Collection, NY.
Jacob Collins biography
Jacob Collins is a New York-based contemporary representational painter who has been widely connected to the recent resurgence of interest in the classical style of academic painting.
Collins was born in New York City in 1964 and, as a child, started copying works by Old Masters in the Metropolitan Museum of Art under the watchful eye of his grandmother, Alma Schapiro, herself a Paris-trained artist. His great uncle, Meyer Schapiro, was a renowned Professor of Art History at Columbia University. From a young age, Collins knew that he wanted to be an artist, although his interest and skill lay in a style that was out of favor. Moving beyond the Modernism of the 20th century, he identified instead with works of 15th-19th century masters and favoring traditional techniques and aesthetics.
Collins studied in Europe and at the New York Studio School following his graduation from The Dalton School. He earned a BA in history from Columbia, attended the New York Academy of Art (NYAA) and the Art Students League, enabling Collins to merge his modernist education with his passion for classical art. Collins also had the opportunity to copy from the masters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Musée du Louvre, the Museo del Prado and the Uffizi Gallery.
Collins' has had over 20 solo shows and numerous group exhibitions at prominent galleries in North America and Europe. Collins has been commissioned to paint portraits of numerous luminaries, including J. Paul Getty, Jr and President George H.W. Bush, and to paint the Forbes family properties in Normandy, France. His work is included in several American institutions, including Harvard's Fogg Museum and Amherst's Mead Art Museum as well as a multitude of important private collections. Collins is currently represented by Hirschl & Adler Modern (NY), the John Pence Gallery (San Francisco), and Meredith Long & Co. (Houston).
In the early 1990s, Collins founded the Water Street Atelier, which has produced dozens of artists trained in an exacting and classical manner and are part of the resurgence of the classical realist movement. In 2006, he founded the Grand Central Academy of Art and developed the Academy's curriculum, which is built around a structured program progressing from cast drawing through figure drawing to painting. In addition to rigorous drawing and painting from life, students also study technical perspective, anatomy, figure structure, painting methods and materials, and art history.
During 2007, Jacob Collins created the Hudson River Landscape School. The purpose of this school is to facilitate the building of a new movement of American art, modeling itself after the artistic, social and spiritual values of the Hudson River School painters. Collins has been reshaping the art landscape through his concerted efforts in the revival of making beautiful classical art as well as through his work and teachings.
Wall panel text from the exhibition
From a young age, Jacob Collins (b. 1964) knew that he wanted to be an artist, though his interest and skill lay in a style that was out of favor. Moving beyond the Modernism of the 20th century, he identified instead with works of 15th-19th century masters and preferred traditional techniques and aesthetics.
Now a leading figure in the contemporary revival of classical painting, Collins was born and received his formal training in New York, and also studied in Paris. He embraces a variety of subject matter and is equally adept at portraiture (his sitters have included J. Paul Getty Jr., former president George H.W. Bush, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger) as he is at painting landscape, still-life and figural themes. Collins, who has said he aims to "paint with the skills of past masters while still feeling fresh," relies on meticulous observation, careful draftsmanship, and dramatic use of darkness and illumination to create works that-while set in the present-exude a sense of timelessness.
In addition to his own painting, Collins is also a sought-after teacher who believes in rigorous classical training in disciplines that hark back to the Renaissance. While living and working in New York, Collins has established several painting ateliers in the tradition of the French academy, finding the rich exchange of ideas among like-minded peers to be stimulating and beneficial to his work as well. Collins has been the subject of over 20 solo exhibitions, and his work is represented in numerous prestigious public and private collections including Harvard's Fogg Art Museum and Amherst's Mead Art Museum, among others.
The Museum is grateful to John and Jasie Britton for their support of this exhibition.
(above: Jacob Collins, Overcast, Fire Island, 2012, Oil on panel, 13 x 24 inches. Courtesy of the Adelson Gallery)
(above: Jacob Collins, Peonies, 2003, Oil on canvas, 17 x 17 inches. Collection of Melinda and Paul Sullivan)
(above: Jacob Collins, Steps in Shadow, Gordes, 2012,
Oil on panel, 12 x 9 inches. Courtesy of the Adelson Gallery)
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