Explore contemporary representative painting with a selection selected for a Sotheby’s sale by the Art Renewal Center


With a mission focused on promoting and revitalizing the performing arts, the Art Renewal Center (ARC) is at the forefront of the representational art movement of the 21st century. Established in 1999 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, the ARC was originally formed to document and preserve the skills and knowledge of Old Master painting techniques, particularly as they developed over the past few centuries. The need was obvious: at that time there were only 14 studio schools in the world offering instruction in realistic painting styles; Today, thanks in large part to the efforts of the ARC, there are more than 85 ARC-recognized schools and arts programs, as well as additional online resources for artists to learn about and promote the performing arts. Parallel to this proliferation of schools and studios, Realism has developed a new and growing following. Although abstraction has been a dominant force over the last century, there has been a notable revival of attention to figurative and realistic work in recent years.

In the summer of 2021, Sotheby’s opened its first-ever online auction of Important realism of the 21st century, which selected 28 lots from the 15th International ARC Salon – the largest competition for representative art in the world. The Salon received nearly 5,000 submissions from over 80 countries, and 91 works were exhibited in the gallery space of Sotheby’s New York. The realist art exhibition was incredibly well received and the auction eventually sold 21 of the 28 lots for a total of $442,300, indicating strong interest.

Realistic works from the ARC continue to appear in Sotheby’s contemporary auctions, which provide an invaluable platform for broad exposure. The online offer currently includes seven ARC works by national and international artists Contemporary Discoveries Sale open to bids between September 23rd and October 3rd, 2022. Realism’s strong representation in this sale underscores ARC’s achievements in promoting the genre.

See a selection from the Art Renewal Center in the Sotheby’s Contemporary Discoveries sale below.

megan reading, Evanesce (The Comeback Kid) (2022). Courtesy of the Art Renewal Center.

Lesley Thiel, In my head: I am a warrior (2022). Courtesy of the Art Renewal Center.

Tina Sprat, before i sleep (2022). Courtesy of the Art Renewal Center.

vanessa lemen, tide (2022). Courtesy of the Art Renewal Center.

That Contemporary Discoveries The online auction is open for bids from September 23 to October 3, 2022.

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