Contemporary realism - Nikolai Blokhin portrait of Eric Rhoads -
Eric Rhoads poses for Nikolai Blokhin in his St. Petersburg studio in September 2017. Photo: Ulrich Gleiter

For well over 15 years, Fine Art Connoisseur magazine has carried the flag for the new realism, which some call contemporary realism. We have highlighted its artists, schools, and collectors, and we have encouraged their interconnections with kindred galleries and museums because we believe strongly that this movement has a solid future in a world that had once lost interest in all things realistic.

Normally, young artists’ works are embraced by young buyers, who ultimately become collectors. Today, alas, there is a huge gap. We now see many well-trained artists creating incredible works, yet there are not enough buyers. Not enough younger people (or even older ones, for that matter) know about the contemporary realism movement. There is an urgent need to both educate and create awareness.

Recently, my millennial nephew, Ryan, told me his tech billionaire friend paid $1 million for a photograph. When I noted the quality of realist painting and sculpture he could have bought for that price — something from a major deceased master, or several pieces from a living one — he simply replied, “Our generation does not know that. Make us aware, and we will buy it.” He added that fine art is not really on his generation’s radar because they didn’t see much of it at school. “So educate us,” he said.

Nikolai Blokhin portrait of Eric Rhoads -
NIKOLAI BLOKHIN (b. 1968), “Portrait of B. Eric Rhoads,” 2017–19, oil on canvas, 31 1/2 x 20 in.

Educate we must. If we don’t, thousands of deserving artists will never find their market, or will be forced to accept remuneration out of sync with the quality of their work.

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Eric Rhoads is a career entrepreneur, with 30 years of launching companies and media brands, creating startups, and building businesses, including over 40 years’ experience in the radio broadcasting field, 25 years in the publishing business, and a decade in the art industry. Rhoads serves as chairman of the board of Streamline Publishing, Inc., a company he founded in 1986 (includes Fine Art Connoisseur magazine, Fine Art Today, and more). He also serves as a consultant and adviser to companies in media, technology, digital media, and art.


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