Kicking it old school

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Kicking it old school………. old romantic school to be exact!

Residing from his studio in western North Carolina, artist Phillip Philbeck skillfully combines his oils and expertise with realism, regionalism and romanticism or a combination of all three. He is a tremendous landscape artist and one of the finest in his genre. We are extremely honored to carry his exceptional work here at Lovetts Gallery.

Phillip began his career as a realist, portraying the world in which he grew up, that being the bucolic farmscapes of western North Carolina. He always had a love of the old American Masters with their dramatic, powerful landscapes of the early United States. His reverence and appreciation lead him through a slow evolution of subject matter, from barns to the grand vistas of the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. When I view Philbecks paintings, I am keenly reminded of many museum trips that started at a young age for me, in which I would come upon the works of artist like Albert Bierstadt or Frederic Edwin Church and be moved by their paintings and later came to understand why there were benches in front of their pieces! You can’t just casually breeze past a masterpiece!

Being an artist of the old Romantic School at heart, Philbeck seeks to portray the landscapes of this country in the most sublime light. For the uninitiated, were not talking romance novel romantic but rather the artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that was at its peak from approximately 1800-1850. Besides Bierstadt and Church, artists, Asher Durand and Thomas Cole and other artists of old, sought to capture the wonders of a young and newly forming country and Philbeck sees himself as one of these old-school artists, but born in a different time. His desires are that those who view his paintings find them relatable or the vehicle that returns them to the time when nature was a new awe inspiring quest. Or even taking you back (like me) to the awe-inspiring adventure of discovering the grandeur and magic of art itself, by the hands of artists. Philbeck’s oils are used for the dramatic light, details and atmosphere that saturate his scenes. Phillip also has quite the reputation for his magnificent skies in his images. And like any good “romantic” he provokes emotionally!

Philbeck loves the familiar……….and is curious of the unexplored!

Phil says, “There is nothing like an original. It is the physical extension of an artist’s soul.” He uses only the finest materials. Canvas is Belgian linen, sized and primed with an oil ground. Paints are factory ground in cold-pressed linseed oil, while the museum style stretchers are painstakingly cut and milled by the artist himself.

A modern-day Master is what you will encounter when you view the paintings of Phillip Philbeck.


A few last words about old-school…… an old school….…the Hudson River School.

The Hudson River School was a mid-19 th century American art movement embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. The paintings for which the movement is named depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area. Hudson River School paintings reflected three themes of America during that time period; exploration, discovery and settlement. The American landscape is depicted as a pastoral setting, where human beings and nature coexist peacefully. HRV landscapes are characterized by their realistic, detailed, and at times, idealized portrayal of nature, often juxtaposing peaceful agriculture and the remaining wilderness, which was fast disappearing from the Hudson Valley just as it was coming to be appreciated for its qualities of ruggedness and sublimity. They also took inspiration from European masters like Lorrain, Constable and Turner. Contemporary American writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson also shared this reverence for Americas natural beauty. The epic size of the landscape paintings, unexampled in earlier American paintings, reminded Americans of the vast, untamed, but magnificent wilderness areas in their country. Such works were being painted during the period of settlement of the American West and the preservation of national parks. The artist Thomas Cole is generally acknowledged as the founder of the Hudson River School. And possibly the most romantic!

Raven Sawyer

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