Showcase of Renowned Portrait Artist’s Work Continues Museum’s “Distinguished Illustrator Series”

Portrait of Theodore Geisel (“Dr. Seuss”), Everett Raymond Kinstler, 1982. 44” x 44”. Collection of the Hood Museum, Dartmouth College. Artwork ©1982 Everett Raymond Kinstler. All rights reserved.

Portrait of Theodore Geisel (“Dr. Seuss”), Everett Raymond Kinstler, 1982. 44” x 44”. Collection of the Hood Museum, Dartmouth College. Artwork ©1982 Everett Raymond Kinstler. All rights reserved.

Stockbridge, MA, January 20, 2012—There are many ways to succeed as an artist. For Norman Rockwell, one of the ways to navigate the changing field of illustration was to accept commissions to create portraits of politicians, musicians, and movie stars. Contemporary artist Everett Raymond Kinstler faced the same issues during the 1950s, as the popularity of television, graphic design, and photography challenged the role of illustration in modern culture. Shifting his focus to portraiture, Kinstler went on to become one of America’s leading portrait artists, creating a veritable Who’s Who gallery of some of the most recognizable faces of American history and culture through the last seven decades. A new exhibition at Norman Rockwell Museum examines Kinstler’s career in both the art of illustration and fine portraiture, and his ability to capture realistic likenesses infused with a passion for storytelling—Everett Raymond Kinstler, Pulps to Portraits is on view at the Museum from March 10 through May 28, 2012.

Like Rockwell, Kinstler notes that “painting people was always what I enjoyed most.” This made the artist’s transition into portraiture a natural progression, and over the years his clients have included such notable figures as Presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, Will Barnet, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, Alexander Calder, Benny Goodman, Katharine Hepburn, Paul Newman, Liv Ullmann, and Tom Wolfe. Original oil-on-canvas paintings of each of these figures will be featured in the exhibition, along with dynamic portraits of fellow illustrators Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss), and Norman Rockwell. The exhibition will document Kinstler’s transition from the illustration field, through early examples of book covers, magazine illustrations, and comic book pages, created in a variety of mediums. A collection of Kinstler’s current projects reveals the continued influence of illustration and motion pictures on the artist’s canvas.

“Kinstler connects to his subjects through feeling and imagination,” notes exhibition curator Martin Mahoney. Everett Raymond Kinstler, Pulps to Portraits looks at the way illustration has shaped the artist’s work and working methods, and how such figures as James Montgomery Flagg became important mentors for him. Presented as part of Norman Rockwell Museum’s “Distinguished Illustrator Series,” highlighting the contributions of contemporary creators, the exhibition is coordinated by the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, the nation’s first research institute devoted to the art of illustration.

An accompanying exhibition catalogue contains articles that discuss Kinstler’s work and influences, including an essay from William H. Gerdts, an art historian and Professor Emeritus of Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center. Dr. Gerdts is the author of over 25 books on American art.

Support for Everett Raymond Kinstler: Pulps to Portraits is made possible in part through the generosity of The Dr. Seuss Fund at the San Diego Foundation, Mr & Mrs. Ernest Steiner, Drs. Irma and Andrew Hilton, Mr. & Mrs. Michael Shane Neal, Mr. James Parkman, Mrs. Helen Powell, Mrs. Thomas Evans, Mr. & Mrs. Ray Ellis, Mr. & Mrs. Michael Horvitz, and Mr. Forrest E. Mars, Jr.

Additional support has been provided by Mr. & Mrs. Tony Bennett, Mr. Arcadio Casillas, Ms. Mary Higgins Clark, Mr. William J. Flynn, Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Dougherty, Mr. & Mrs. Alfred U. Elser, Jr., Mr. & Mrs. Peter Martin, Mr. & Mrs. George Munroe, Mr. Marne Obernauer, Jr., Mr. John Doyle Ong, Mr. & Mrs. Russell Palmer, Mr. & Mrs. Alex Rosenberg, and Dr. John Silber.


Exhibition Related Programs and Events


Members Opening Event

Saturday, March 10, 5 to 7 p.m.

Commentary at 5:30 p.m. by artist Everett Raymond Kinstler.

Be our guest for this special evening with Everett Raymond Kinstler, the prominent American portraitist who began his career as a comic book artist and illustrator working for the popular publications of his day. The artist’s original illustrations and portraits of noted celebrities will be on view in this exploration of his outstanding career in the arts. Reception to follow with refreshments and a cash bar. Museum members free, guests $20. RSVP 413.931.2221, or email


Portrait Academy

Friday, March 30, 1 to 4 p.m.

Saturday, March 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Join us for this special weekend with the National Portrait Society. Noted artists Everett Raymond Kinstler, Dawn Whitelaw, Michael Shane Neal, and Edward Jones will demonstrate the art of fine portraiture in a series of workshops that offer creative approaches to capturing convincing likenesses. $175, $159 Museum members, for both days.


Art Lecture and Demonstration

The Art of Portraiture with Everett Raymond Kinstler

Saturday, April 14, 1 to 4 p.m.

Learn the tricks of the trade from master portraitist Everett Raymond Kinstler, who will share wisdom gleaned from decades of experience as an illustrator and painter of the most notable figures of our day. $25, $20 for Museum members.


April School Vacation Week Workshops

Hold That Pose! Portraiture for Children

Monday through Friday, April 16 through 20, 1 to 4 p.m.

Explore the art of portraiture with a little inspiration from two masters of the art form, Norman Rockwell and Everett Raymond Kinstler. For ages seven and up. Take one or take them all. $15, $12 Museum members.


About Everett Raymond Kinstler

Born in 1926, Everett Raymond Kinstler was recognized early in life for his artistic talents and supported by his parents, who taught him that it is a gift to be able to work and do something one loves for a living. A native New Yorker, Kinstler developed an early appreciation for the illustration arts during this period, becoming an avid fan of the periodicals that were filled with the work of the top rate illustrators of the day.

Kinstler began his own career at age 16, drawing comic books, book and magazine illustrations, as well as covers for paperback books. As one of the “golden age” era of comic book artists, he created illustrations for such classic pulp magazines as The Shadow and Doc Savage. His early work taught him to connect with the reader and tell a story, essential skills that brought him additional work as a freelance artist.

Kinstler studied at the Art Students League, under American illustrator and impressionist painter, Frank Vincent DuMond (1865-1961). DuMond’s influence on the artist was reflected in his oft-repeated statement, “I won’t try to teach you to paint, but to see and observe.” Kinstler would later teach at the school himself, from 1969 to 1974.

In 1949, a touchstone year in his life and career, Kinstler moved into his own “real” studio when DuMond assisted him in securing a space in the historic National Arts Club, where he continues to work today. That same year, he sought out and befriended one of his artistic idols, illustrator James Montgomery Flagg. Their friendship continued until Flagg’s death in 1960, a professional relationship that Kinstler remembers as “my greatest influence.”

In the 1960s, the artist approached Portraits, Inc., a New York-based company connecting portraitists with sitters. Following several success commissions, Kinstler ultimately made the transition from illustrator to portraitist, and soon established himself as one of the nation’s foremost portrait painters.

Among Kinstler’s more than 1200 portraits are such well-known personalities as Tony Bennett, Carol Burnett, James Cagney, Betty Ford, Gene Hackman, Katharine Hepburn, Lady Bird Johnson, Paul Newman, Peter O’Toole, Gregory Peck, and John Wayne. Others include authors Arthur Miller, Ayn Rand, Tennessee Williams, and Tom Wolfe; Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Harry Blackmun; business and government leaders such as John D. Rockefeller lll, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 6 U.S. Governors, four U.S. Secretaries of State, and the presidents of universities and colleges including Brown, Harvard, Oklahoma, Princeton, Smith, Wellesley, Williams, and Yale.

Kinstler has painted more than 50 cabinet officers, more than any artist in the country’s history. Seven Presidents — Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush — have posed for him. His portraits of Ford and Reagan are the official White House portraits.

The artist has been awarded honorary doctorates by Rollins College in 1983 and the Lyme Academy College of Art in 2002. The National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., has acquired 75 of his original works for its permanent collection. He is also represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Butler Institute of American Art, Brooklyn Museum, etc. In 1999, Kinstler received the Copley Medal from the Smithsonian, National Portrait Gallery, its highest honor. Memberships include: National Academy of Design (N.A.), Allied Artists of America, American Watercolor Society, Pastel Society of America (Hall of Fame), Audubon Artists, Copley Society of Boston (life), National Arts Club.

Through almost seven decades in the arts, Kinstler has kept his skills sharp and his approach to his work fresh by painting from life. Whether he is devoting time to painting portraits or landscapes, or his recent series of art inspired by classic cinema and popular American icons, Everett Raymond Kinstler continues to express his love of the artistic process and connection with his subjects and viewers.

Learn more about the artist at his website:


About Norman Rockwell Museum’s Distinguished Illustrator Series

The Norman Rockwell Museum Distinguished Illustrator Series honors the unique contributions of outstanding visual communicators today. Presented by the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies, the nation’s first research institute devoted to the art of illustration, the Distinguished Illustrator Series reflects the impact and evolution of Norman Rockwell’s beloved profession, exploring a diverse and ever-changing field.


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