Detail of
Detail of "Julia" by Hiroshi Furuyoshi

Contemporary Realism > A Note From the Fine Art Connoisseur Editor-in-Chief

Heating Up Manhattan with Contemporary Realism

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Brianna Lee (b. 1987), “Dissonance” (detail), 2020, oil on panel, 20 x 16 in. (overall), available through the artist

July in New York City is generally hot and quiet, but this year it was perked up significantly — at least for those of us who love contemporary realist art — by an impressive display at Sotheby’s. On view were two large, interconnecting shows — highlights from the 15th International ARC Salon Exhibition, and lots offered in the Contemporary Realism: Important 21st Century Works auction, which was conducted entirely on

Kudos to the Art Renewal Center (ARC) team that organized these projects, especially Fred, Kara, and Sherry Ross, and also to Benjamin Doller, the Sotheby’s executive who coordinated the firm’s participation. Surely he was pleased that 21 out of 28 lots sold, an encouraging figure for the field of contemporary realism, which is relatively untested in the auction marketplace.

Of course it was a delight for me to meet or reconnect with the talented exhibiting artists during the opening celebrations, but it was also fascinating to watch “newcomers” stopping by to browse. Sotheby’s sells all kinds of art, so it made sense that some collectors who initially came to see the cutting-edge contemporary upstairs later made their way to the main floor to check out the realist shows while they were in the building.

Quite naughtily, I eavesdropped on some of them, and sure enough — they were astonished that tradition-minded jewels like Hiroshi Furuyoshi’s “Julia” (illustrated below) are being painted now. They loved what they saw, but it’s a worry that even these sophisticated people simply do not know that artists capable of such quality work among us today.

HIROSHI FURUYOSHI (b. 1959), “Julia,” 2019, oil on panel, 7 1/4 x 3 3/4 in.

That’s a continuing challenge that every issue of Fine Art Connoisseur seeks to address, and having a major influencer like Sotheby’s get involved is a terrific step in the right direction. Thank you — dear reader — for spreading the word to anyone who will listen and, more importantly, look. We have so many talents in our field, and now we just need more folks to see and buy their remarkable creations.

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