R ichard Lack is one of the most influential pupils of R. H. Ives Gammell. His artistic training began at the Minneapolis School of Art, but his interest in the classical traditions soon led him to the atelier of Ives Gammell, with whom he studied for five years in the Fenway Studios in Boston from 1950 to 1956.

This training was interrupted for two years of service in the U.S. Army. In 1955 he traveled to Europe on a scholarship to study the Old Masters, particularly Peter Paul Rubens, whose work has greatly influenced him both in style and method.

In 1957 he returned to Minneapolis with his wife, Katherine, bought a house and built a studio designed to simulate the lighting conditions recommended in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vince. There he began to paint a variety of work - still life, portrait, genre, landscape and imaginative paintings based on myth, history and the psychology of C. G. Jung.

The superbquality of Lack's work and the importance of his teaching methods earned him three scholarships from the Elizabeth T. Greenshields Memorial Foundation in Montreal, Canada as well as a grant from the John R. and Anna Lee Stacy Scholarship Fund.

In 1969 he founded the Atelier Lack, a small, nonprofit school of drawing and painting with an apprentice program based on the teaching methods of the 19th-century French ateliers and the Boston impressionists. His sound training, experience with diverse painting methods and mastery of so many genres of painting made him a uniquely qualified teacher. For many years his atelier was the only place outside of Boston where students could be trained in that tradition and he has had several important students. He retired from teaching in 1992 due to ill health.

During his long career Lack has exhibited widely throughout the United States, in both solo and group exhibitions, winning many awards and honors. A large retrospective of his work was held at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington, in 1988.

Throughout his career Lack has been a highly sought-after portrait artist and has painted many notable figures, among them six portraits for the Kennedy family of Hyannisport, MA, a portrait for England's future Earl of Wilmot, and Minnesota Governors Wendell Anderson and Albert Quie.

During recent years he has devoted most of his time and energy to painting a series of large works based on Jungian psychology which depict man's inner journey toward individuation and psychological wholeness.

Lack is the author of many articles on art including the influencial booklet entitled On the Training of Painters: With Notes on the Atelier Program. He edited the book Realism in Revolution: The Art of the Boston School. Richard is co-founder of the Classical Realism Quarterly, the forerunner of the Classical Realism Journal. He is also co-founder of The American Society of Classical Realism and, along with Stephen Gjertson and Donald Koestner, a founding member of its Guild of Artists. Articles written about him and his work are numerous and include "Richard Lack's System of Training Painters," American Artist, Summer 1971, and "Is it Radical to Paint like Rembrandt?" Twin Cities, July 1983. Richard is listed in Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in International Art and Antiques and International Biographies. Lack is an emeritus member of The American Society of Classical Realism Guild of Artists.

  Susanna by Richard Lack
Richard Lack, Susanna
Biography Source: The American Society of Classical Realism