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Richard F. Lack Catalogue Raisonné: 1943–1998

ISBN: 9781890434908
Binding: Hardcover
Author: Gary B. Christensen: Catalogue Raisonné and Stephen A. Gjertson: Biography
Trim: 9.25 x 11.75 inches
Published: 8/1/2016

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RICHARD F. LACK (1928&ndash2009) was one of the most important and distinguished artists of the last half of the twentieth century. Over the span of sixty-three years he completed more than 1 300 paintings drawings sketches studies etchings woodcuts and watercolors. Early in his career he received thirty-four Gold Medals Best of Show People's Choice awards and several scholarships for his atelier (1971&ndash1992) 100 highly trained painters completed Lack's program many of whom are accomplished artists recognized nationally today.

While the prolific number of works Lack completed in all genres places him in the upper echelons of twentieth-century artists his research and preservation of the "atelier" method of training aspiring painters underscores his historical significance and sets him apart. The language of painting in the manner of the Old Masters was to a great degree restored by his research into their methods and kept alive by his students. Today there are countless numbers of ateliers in the United States and around the world many of them established by those who had completed Richard Lack's atelier program or the ateliers run by his students and their students who are motivated to carry on his legacy of training to future generations.

One can make a good case that if Atelier Lack had never existed the traditions of academic painting traced back to the Renaissance and the use of Impressionist color developed in late nineteenth-century France would not exist today.

About Author

Gary Christensen majored in Fine Art at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and pursued a successful career as a freelance graphic artist and illustrator then to positions as SR. Art Director and later moved into managing creative groups at the corporate level and with a local design agency. In 1983 Christensen learned of a local art school that "taught people how to draw and paint realistically." The school was Atelier Lack. Motivated by Lack's work his atelier and the connection to the Old Masters it represented. In 1986 Christensen used his business experience to partner with Lack and some of his students to create a national organization with the stated purpose of "promoting the craft of fine picture-making." The result was The American Society of Classical Realism and a lifelong friendship with Richard Lack. Christensen designed and produced all of the organization's publications: the Classical Realism Journal numerous exhibition catalogs and books. He has written articles that appeared in the Classical Realism Journal Fine Art Connoisseur American Arts Quarterly and the California Art Club News Letter. In 2002 he began researching and documenting Lack's works which total over 1 300 paintings studies drawings sketches woodcuts and etchings. He photographed three quarters of Lack's works in the catalogue designed it and executed the page layout.


"Atelier Lack was a fixture in the Uptown Minneapolis neighborhood for decades. The studio and school was the center of a style of painting dubbed 'Classical Realism' by its founder Minneapolis native Richard Lack (1928-2009). Lack's lodestar was the then-unfashionable traditional style of painting inspired by the Old Masters. He coined the term Classical Realism in 1974 to distinguish his manner of painting from the other 'isms' of the time such as Modernism and Surrealism. Besides training others in his method and inspiring other ateliers in the United States Lack was a prolific artist. It's no wonder that this richly illustrated catalog of his 1 300 paintings drawings sketches studies etchings woodcuts and watercolors was a decade in the making." -Minnesota Historical Society Minnesota History Magazine Backspace October 2017

"[Richard Lack's catalogue raisonn&eacute] arrived yesterday and it's fabulous! What a great reference tool for us to have. Thank you." &ndashSteve Grafe Director Maryhill Museum of Art 12.13.16 email to the author

"[Richard Lack's catalogue raisonn&eacute] came yesterday and I haven't been able to put it down. You and Steve did a masterful job and I was in tears more than once as I read and looked and remembered. Thank you so much for taking on this project and seeing it through." &ndashLiz Hunter Wife of renowned Boston painter Robert Douglas Hunter (1928-2014) 12.12.2016 email to the author

"Wow! [Richard Lack's catalogue raisonn&eacute] came today. What a mountain of work and research. Fascinating. Congratulations! I expect to spend many hours with this thorough overview of Mr. Lack's oeuvre. Thank you so much for your tenacity in presenting him in such many-faceted detail." &ndashJames Childs (Atelier Lack: 1971-1975) 12.13.2016 email to the author

"What an amazing job you (along with the others who contributed) did on such an overwhelming and worthwhile endeavor!!!" &ndashJeffrey T. Larson (Atelier Lack: 1980-1984) 12.28.2016 email to the author

"We wish to congratulate you on this very significant work. Having known the Lacks since 1979 and been social friends as well this is very meaningful and includes a lot we did not know very well. Our children who have paintings and prints of Richard's work will have this resource to read and look at including the piece about Mary Jane. It will help them better appreciate the things they have and their mother's connection to the lineage.

"Again our compliments to you for this important work. We can only know a little of what went into bringing it to completion. So Thank you! Thank you!!" &ndashBen and Mary Jane Barnard (Collectors and personal friends of Richard and Katherine Lack) 12.13.2016 email to the author