Biography of James Childs

The basis of James Childs’ art today is his study with Richard Lack (1971-74) and R.H.Ives Gammell (Summers 1971 -73), an education based in Boston Impressionism and the traditions of the Ecole des Beaux Arts transmitted through Gammell’s master, William McGregor Paxton who studied with Dennis Miller Bunker and the great Gerome in Paris - a tradition transmitted in an unbroken line from the Florentine Renaissance. Childs amplified these studies by extensive copying of the Masters and comparative research in 19th. Century and Renaisance painting and drawing. The Greek aesthetic informs his personal ideal. He has a B.F.A. from The Minneapolis College of Art and Design and spent a year at Atelier 63 in Haarlem, Holland, founded and taught by members of the expressionist group COBRA, Ger Lataster and Karl Apprl.

His major exhibitions have been two ‘one man ‘ shows at Tatistcheff & Co. on 57th. Street in New York , participation in the " Six Students of R. H. Ives Gammell" at Hammer Galleries, New York, and an exhibition in 1996 at The Leighton House Museum in London in conjunction with the centenary of The death of Frederic, Lord Leighton (another indelible influence.) Since moving to New York in 1987, Childs has mainly supported himself through society portraiture painted in a classical style. He has painted some of the most powerful men and most glamorous women of this era including Christopher Forbes, Carolyne Roehm, Blaine Trump, Elizabeth Ross Johnson, Ursula Corning, and Barbara and Donald Tober.
Childs’ describes his portraits as, "The drama of Sargent, the refinement of Ingres, and a dash of Classic Hollywood glamour.
James Childs teaches in order to pass on the unbroken line of academic/impressionist lineage. He taught nine years at The National Academy of Design and has taught for the past twenty years in his atelier, The Drawing Academy of the Atlantic. His work is collected by most of the major figurative private collections and is in museum collections from Minnesota to Puerto Rico. One of his murals is a permanent installation in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. His portraits can be seen in castles in Umbria, chateaux in Normandy, and houses on Park and Fifth Avenue, Beekman and Sutton Places in Manhattan. In September & October of 2002 He was the first ever resident-artist invited to paint in Lord Leighton’s Holland Park studio in London’s Royal Borough of Kensington. Leighton is a hero of James Childs. Events and exhibitions were planned around this event culminating in an exhibition and musical party to honor Lord Leighton in the style of his famous musical soirees which opened the London Social season. He lectured the Art Worker's Guild during this time. His quest in all his work is a search for the wellspring of beauty in all nature. His intention is to be neither academic nor impressionist but to use these influences to reanimate the Classic point of view as defined by the artists of the 5th. Century, B.C.E. at Athens.
Childs exhibited his tribute to Greek culture, the five meter frieze, "Ancient Contests: Modern Heroes" in the foyer of the galleries of The Cultural Organization of the City of Athens during the Olympic Games in August of 2004. In October of 2004, the entire frieze project was exhibited in the galleries of Forbes, Inc. on Fifth Avenue in New York. The frieze was shown during the 2012 London games at Leighton House Museum.
James Childs work can be described as a modern hybrid of Classical Greek idealism, the influence of the Fifteenth Century Italian "gusto grande’, and the refinement of the great Academic masters of 19th. Century France. His color is inspired by his personal reaction to nature, to Boston Impressionism and to French Post-Impressionism.
New York Academy of Art, NYC, 1988 & 1991-1992

Bottega Boun Fresco, NYC, 1988-1991

Atelier Lack, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1971-1974

The R.H.Ives Gammell Studios, Boston & Williamstowm, Mass., Summers 1971-1973

Minneapolis College of Art & Design, BFA 1970

Atelier 63, Haarlem, The Netherlands, 1968-1969

The Drawing Academy of the Atlantic, NYC, 1994-2015

The National Academy of Design, NYC, 1987-1996

Childs – Mairs Studio, St. Paul, Mn., 1975-1982

Minneapolis Vocational Institute, 1970-1980

Minnesota Museum School, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1974-1976

James Childs’ "Ancient Contests: Modern Heroes", Forbes Galleries, NYC 2004-2005
Olympics 2004:"Ancient Contests: Modern Heroes" Athens’ Cultural Organization
James Childs at Leighton House Museum, London, 2002
James Childs at Wolffer Estate, Sagaponack,N.Y., 2001
Drawn From Life, Tatistcheff & Co., NYC 1997
James Childs, Leighton House Museum, London, 1996
James Childs, Sundance Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY, 1994
Art & The Environment, National Arts Club, 1993
In The Tradition 0f Madame X, Portraits Inc., NYC
Silverpoint, Leslie Cecil Gallery, NYC, 1987
Six Painters From The R. H. Ives Gammell Studios, Hammer Galleries, NYC, 1986
American Realism, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1985
James Childs: Drawings (one man show), A. J. Walker, Boston, 1985
20th. Century American Drawing – The Figure in Context, International Exhibitions
Foundation Tour (Paul Cummings, Curator), 1994-1995
James Childs: New Paintings (one man show), Tatistcheff & Co., NYC
James Childs: Drawings (one man show), Tatistcheff & Co., NYC, 1980
12 Young Americans, Tatistcheff & Co., NYC, 1979

Ceremonial Court, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, D.C.1989
Chapel of the Glorified Cross, Churdh of St. Odilia, Shoreview, Minn., 1983-1986
Venus & Adonis United by Love, Adducci House, 1979
Chapel, Adducci House, Scottsdale, Arizona, 1978

The Blanden Art Museum, Fort Dodge, Iowa
The Leslie-Lohman Museum, NYC
Lehman Bros. 3 M Collection. Museo De Ponce, Puerto Rico
Wadsworth Atheneam, Hartford, Conn; Claude Bernard, Paris; Frederick Koch, NYC; Minneapolis Institute of Art

Leonee Ormond, London
Elizabeth Ross Johnson, NYC
Ursula Corning, Civitella Ranieri, Umbria
Mr.& Mrs. Henry Kravis, NYC
Mr.& Mrs. Robert Trump, NYC
Christopher Forbes, Far Hills, NJ
Mr. & Mrs. Donald Tober
Dr. Ralph and Mrs. Nancy Blume