Michener Art Museum

Nelson Shanks


Nelson Shanks, A Self Portrait, oil on canvas, photo courtesy of the artist
PAINTER
BORN: December 23, 1937, Rochester, NY


The traditional boundaries of representational painting are often crossed in Shanks' paintings, and it is the artist's goal in all his works to transcend the conventional categories into which we place most representational painting?? Michael Gitlitz, Hirschl & Adler Galleries

Painter Nelson Shanks, particularly renowned for his portraits, began his college education by studying architecture. His erious study of art began at the Kansas City Art Institute, followed by study throughout Europe, particularly in Italy, before returning to study in New York. A resident of Bucks County since 1968, Shanks has a long-established reputation as one of the foremost advocates and practitioners of classicist and realist painting. His work typically includes portraits of well-known figures as well as still lifes, imbued with allegorical and symbolic meanings. Strongly influenced by works from the Italian Renaissance and the Baroque period, Shanks paints primarily in oil on canvas or panel. Figures, interiors, portraits, and landscapes are his most common subjects. Shanks' commitment to the traditions of humanism and progressive realism is reflected in his founding of Studio Incamminati, where he has offered classes since 2002.

Shanks' works have been exhibited at the National Academy of Design, Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the New Jersey State Museum, the Royal Palace, Stockholm, and Kensington Palace, London.