Richard F. Lack Has Passed Away

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Richard F. Lack Has Passed Away

October 5, 2009

Thoughts on Richard Lack

I'm so very sad to hear this.

Richard more than any other single artist and teacher picked up the torch when Ives Gammell passed away in 1981.

I know the entire community of traditional and classically trained artists will mourn his passing.

It's so ironic that only a few days before Richard Lack passed away, (Lack was Ives Gammell's most influential student), I just discovered the letter Ives Gammell sent to me in 1981 in which he demonstrated his support for the programs and projects we were working on that lead to the Art Renewal Center®.
- ARC Chairman, Fred Ross

Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness regarding the legacy of Richard Lack. Lack along with R H Ives Gammell gave themselves so totally to the cause of reestablishing the very high standards of painting that today we are seeing the results of this huge undertaking. They trained only a handfull of students at a time for several years and began from the very beginning with the study of antique casts to figure drawing and still life, never to rush ahead, until each were mastered sufficiently. They never compromised in the wake of contemporary critics with modernist viewpoints where discipline or standards mattered little.

His leadership cannot be overstated. Even as students would leave and move along in their own careers Lack once again took up the challenge of organizing the artists into a cohesive body
and eventually coigned the tag 'Classical Realism'. His personal charm and dedication molded the group for years to follow, bringing together talented people of many other areas to organize museum and gallery shows and publish written material in newsletters and books. He took great pride in the accomplishments of his many students and the mutual respect of the artists that today enjoy the benefits of his labors.

Lastly, along with these important efforts by Richard Lack and R H Ives Gammell, it took the business savvy of Fred Ross and his own tireless efforts, as a collector and champion of bringing back
recognition of academic painting, to help reshape a renewed interest in these high standards of painting. His own personal interest in making sure art of such great painters like Bouguereau, Gerome, Lefebvre and many others of the 19th century never go unnoticed again. To this end Fred Ross has given much needed support and encouragement through ARC. where several of Richard Lack's former pupils shine as artists within a legacy.

Richard Lack will be greatly missed. His legacy and example will be an inspiration for all of us.


(ARC Living Master, Allan Banks)

About Richard Lack:

Richard Lack was a man of courage willing to stand up and be counted during the height of academic and critical pressures condemning realism. He created the name Classical Realism. This name has been gratefully taken up and proudly carried forth by those of us trying to keep the flame of realism ever brighter. Richard Lack gathered up almost dying embers so that we had access to blowing our creativity upon them and nurturing them back into accessible brilliance. Thank you, Richard Lack.

David Hardy

(ARC Living Master)