Denver’s Gallery 1261 could be described as “an artist’s gallery.” Unlike most galleries that typically set certain parameters for the artists and their work, Gallery 1261 gives their artists free reign to explore new subjects, break new ground with their media, and develop creatively through experimentation. As a result, says Connor Serr, the gallery’s manager, “clients have come to expect that kind of experimentation. They want to see something new each time they visit the gallery.”
Thus, in an environment devoted to showcasing artists’ creative evolution, it’s not surprising that the gallery jumped at the chance to host a retrospective of living master Richard Schmid’s work. Kristen Thies, Schmid’s representative at West Wind Fine Art, curated the exhibition—opening this Saturday—that features both newly created paintings and a selection of older artworks from private collections across the country, many of which have not been seen by the public for years. Like all retrospectives, the exhibition will reveal the artist’s changing interests over time. Commenting on the show, Serr says, “Richard Schmid is a living master—there’s no one better. It’s a really exciting opportunity to have this retrospective.”
Schmid, who studied the full range of classical painting techniques at the American Academy of Art in Chicago under William H. Mosby, is known for his lyrical, bravura brushwork and his alla prima method, which generally requires the artist to work from life in one continuous painting session. Throughout his career, Schmid has pursued what is known as the Grand Manner, which he defines as “a certain mingling of virtuosity and joy in art.” From still life to landscape to portraits and other figurative work, the artist’s work has been the subject of more than 50 one-man exhibitions, numerous articles, several books, and countless workshops.
Gallery 1261 opened in 2004 as a partnership between three owners—artist/illustrator David Uhl, artist Quang Ho, and gallerist Christine Serr, who also founded Abend Gallery in Denver back in 1990. The three of them shared a vision for a gallery space where artists could explore their creativity without the constraints of marketing and sales quotas, and to this day Ho serves as the gallery’s curator, choosing works of the highest quality. Most of the gallery’s artists create representational works with a contemporary edge, and many are oil painters, although visitors will certainly find a range of styles and media showing there. Hollis Dunlap, Aaron Westerberg, Mia Bergeron, Carolyn Anderson, and Daniel Sprick are just a handful of the many talented artists represented.
“Richard Schmid: A Retrospective Exhibition,” which runs from September 24 through October 1, opens with a reception on Saturday, September 24, from 6 to 9 p.m. There will also be a book signing on Sunday, September 25, from 11 a.m to noon. For more information about Gallery 1261, additional upcoming exhibitions, and a complete listing of all of the gallery’s artists, visit gallery1261.com.
Jennifer King is a marketer, artist, writer, and entrepreneur. A long time student of art marketing and the fine art industry, she currently provides art marketing services and coaching to visual artists through her company, Connect Artist Marketing. Learn more at connectartistmarketing.com.