Thomas McKnight’s paintings, serigraphs and posters, phenomenally popular with the public, have placed him in an elite group of contemporary artists whose work can be instantly recognizable as his own. Be it a carnival in Venice, a sun drenched street in Greece, a cozy well furnished room, a tropical beach or a mythological scene, McKnight’s images invite you to experience the unfettered joy of living. “I try to integrate what is real about a place or thing with its underlying truth its invisible soul,” muses the artist. “In the process I try to create a symbolic reality that can serve as a catalyst for emotions, nostalgia, joy, the sadness of time passing.” According to noted New York Times critic Gene Thornton, McKnight’s work presents “visions of earthly happiness that are almost celestial. It is the vision of earthly paradise that exists in the here and now. Thomas McKnight’s pictures remind us of how good life can be in those rare moments when all is well in the world.” Born in 1941 in Lawrence, Kansas, Thomas McKnight grew up in suburbs of Montreal, New York City and Washington, D.C. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Wesleyan University, he studied art history at Columbia University. He then served in Korea with the army for two years, and later worked for Time Magazine. Since deciding to devote himself to painting full time in 1972, McKnight’s work has been exhibited in over two hundred and fifty one man shows through out the United States, Europe and Japan, and has appeared everywhere from the cover of Reader’s Digest to pages of Japanese calendars to the walls of restaurants in southern China. His prints have appeared in numerous movies and television shows including Beverly Hills 90210 and When Harry Met Sally. At a recent Cannes Film Festival, actor director Robert Redford remarked that McKnight was his favorite artist. McKnight’s private, public, corporate and museum collections are too numerous to list here. In 1988, McKnight’s Constitution was chosen as the official image of the U.S. Constitution Bicentennial. In fact, Constitution was one of only three art works which First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton chose to bring to Washington from Little Rock when President Clinton was elected. The serigraph hangs in the White House solarium which serves as the first family’s living room. Longtime McKnight fans, the Clintons asked the artist to create an image for the presidential Christmas card in 1994 and again in 1995. His warm home and hearth renderings of the White House Red Room and Blue Room at holiday time have now appeared on half a million cards sent out worldwide from the White House. Six books of McKnight’s art have been published (two in Japan) including the most recent Voyage to Paradise. He was commissioned by Dennis Connor in 1992 to paint two images commemorating the America’s Cup races, and by the city of Kobe, Japan in 1993 to create a series of paintings to serve as the centerpiece for the two year celebration of its tricentennial. After the devastating earthquake which hit Kobe in 1995, McKnight created an earthquake relief poster.
McKnight’s images of places near and far appeal to our senses-his lush but subtle color, his charming compositions, his rendering of form-these qualities we admire and enjoy in the works of master artists of all times.
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