Robert Hale Ives Gammell paintings
Robert Hale Ives Gammell (1893-1981), “Bathsheba,” 1931), oil on canvas, 54.5 x 44.25 in. Collection of Michael and Nancy Grogan

Update from the Guild of Boston Artists, as of 3/19/20: Following the recommendations of the CDC as well as the directives of state and city officials, the Guild of Boston Artists will be closed to the public from 3/17 – 4/4. We have also decided to cancel the Opening Reception of “Living Tradition: Students of R.H. Ives Gammell” currently scheduled on April 4 and plan to hold a Closing Reception instead on May 2. We will share more information with you as this situation develops. Stay safe and healthy!

The Guild of Boston Artists recently announced “Living Tradition: Students of R. H. Ives Gammell,” an exhibition of work by Guild members past and present.

Alongside two historic works by Robert Hale Ives Gammell (1893-1981), the show includes over 40 stunning paintings by Guild members past and present, demonstrating the representational painting tradition preserved in the Gammell Atelier and continued in the teaching studios of his students.

Robert Hale Ives Gammell paintings
R. H. Ives Gammell (1893-1981), “Garden of Proserpine,” 1938, oil on canvas, 48 x 24 in. Private Collection

More from the organizers:

A former president of the Guild of Boston Artists, Robert Hale Ives Gammell is often credited with preserving the “Classical Realist” and Boston School traditions of painting in America. Paul Ingbretson and Thomas Dunlay, former students and current teachers of the Gammell method, both stress, however, that “he did not teach the realism of today but rather representational painting as practiced by the great masters of the past with a view to ‘largeness of intention.’”

As both a writer and teacher, Gammell sought to counteract the erosion of painting standards and the diminished quality of art education that he decried in his seminal work, “The Twilight of Painting,” published in 1946. The Gammell Atelier, founded at the historic Fenway Studios, began taking small groups of serious art students in the 1950s and emphasized drawing and design in the manner of the Boston painters, particularly William Paxton.

In addition to a rigorous training program dedicated to the transmission of the craft of painting, the late master also provided for students to study classical literature, music, and the theater arts. Gammell’s unique atelier model, based on his understanding of the French Academy and its reverence for the painting traditions and practices that originated in the Renaissance, has been adopted in the contemporary teaching studios of many of his students continuing these traditions both here and abroad.

According to the artist’s goddaughter and Gammell scholar, Elizabeth Ives Hunter, “Gammell understood that to be successfully passed on, a tradition must be a living thing to which each generation of practitioners makes a contribution; otherwise tradition becomes an historic artifact preserved but ultimately no longer vital.”

It is in this spirit that this exhibition was conceived and curated by Guild director, Alexander Ciesielski, and Guild president, Jean Lightman. Alongside two historic works by the late master, the show will include paintings by current Guild members Richard Whitney (Stoddard, NH), David Curtis (Gloucester, MA), Stapleton Kearns (Derry, NH), Thomas Dunlay (Westwood, MA), Gary Hoffmann (Weymouth, MA), David Lowrey (Boston MA), and Paul Ingbretson (Pike, NH), as well as works by past members including Robert Cormier, Robert Douglas Hunter, Robert Moore, Samuel Rose, and Curtis Hanson.

Each painter in this exhibition creates with a deep knowledge of visual relationships, and each has left or continues to leave an indelible mark on the Western tradition of representational painting, demonstrating R. H. Ives Gammell’s purpose of teaching “the technical means of expressing [the artist’s] reaction to what he sees.”

Please visit for more details.

> Sign up to receive Fine Art Today, our free weekly e-newsletter

> And click here to subscribe to Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, so you never miss an issue


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here