Exclusive preview of the new Masterworks from the International Guild of Realism exhibit

Preview the newest exhibit arriving at the Appleton Museum of Art this September.

By Jordan Wenk, Co-Eitor-In-Chief


Allan Gorman, Ruby & Sapphire


Elizabeth Weiss, Reawakening

We have all seen the online article titles that beg to be clicked: “You won’t believe this picture is actually a PAINTING!” and leads you to a series of hyper-realistic drawings and paintings to which we all end up saying at some point, “That can’t be a painting, it looks so real!” Now students have the chance to see that works of art like this, in person, to see that they really do exist.

The upcoming exhibit at the Appleton Museum of Art is titled “Masterworks from the International Guild of Realism,” and begins on September 5, and features those same all-too-real looking paintings that have the ability to fool your eyes into thinking they are real. This technique is a French technique called “trompe-l’oeil” which means “deceive the eye.”

“Trompe-l’oeil is a hallmark of really strong realism,” said Ruth Grim, Curator of Exhibitions at the Appleton, “and it’s always a crowd pleaser.”

The art that is in this exhibit was created in association with a group of artists called the International Guild of Realism, which was founded by realism artists from all around the globe with a common mission: to increase exposure and promote the art through programs like the exhibit at the Appleton.

So when the Appleton heard about this exhibit they could not pass it up.

“When we heard from IGOR, we knew they were the best in the world,” Grim said. “People are fascinated by artists that can relate the real world so well in their paintings.”

Realism has many meanings, and the International Guild of Realism collectively relates what this term to them.

“Trompe l’oeil, photorealism, surrealism, and super-realism are some of the genres included within the range of realism choices for modern artists,” the group’s website states.

With art that is this detailed, it is a complicated procedure to create something (both the art and the exhibit) of this magnitude.

The person responsible for assembling the travelling exhibit is David J. Wagner, Tour Director of this exhibit as well as Curatorial Advisor for the selection of the pieces chosen for this exhibition. Wagner is also the president of David J. Wagner, L.L.C. which is the company responsible for producing and managing the tour.

“[The amount of time] depends entirely upon the artist and the size of the painting,” Wagner said, concerning the amount of time it takes to create a Masterwork in the world of realism.

As for the collection of pieces putting them all together, it takes “about two years,” Wagner continued.

For more information on the Masterworks series, the artists involved, and works not included in the exhibition, please visit Wagner’s website (davidjwagnerllc.com) and the International Guild of Realism’s website (realismguild.com)

For those interested in learning more about realism, and its many different meanings, Ruth Grim will be hosting a lecture titled “The Many Faces of Realism.”

“[The lecture] explores the many faces of realist art with ancient realism, and how realism means different things to different cultures along with how it has progressed,” Grim said.

The lecture will take place on September 24 at 6:00 p.m.

The Masterworks exhibit is travelling and this is a once in a lifetime chance to see the incredible artwork in person before it heads to its next location (The Albany Museum of Art in Albany, Georgia). Its stay in the Appleton will take place from September 5 until November 1.


Grace Kim, Dragon Fruit


Colin Poole, Daydream

A very special thank you to David J. Wagner for his time and the Appleton Museum of Art who have provided these photos.

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