Michael Kessler  (American, 1954) 

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Michael Kessler (American, b.1954) is best known for his geometric and colorful paintings. He was born in Hanover, PA, and was drawn to art from a very young age. Kessler attended Kutztown University, where he received a bachelor's degree in Fine Art. While an undergraduate student, he was awarded a fellowship from the Whitney Museum of American Art. He studied and painted in New York City as part of the Whitney Independent Study Program. During this time, Kessler met Richard Tuttle (American, b.1941) and Dorothea Rockburne (Canadian, b.1932), both of whom influenced his work. After graduation, he took a job as a bus driver to support himself while painting after hours.

Kessler began his career as a landscape painter, but most of his works are Abstract and inspired by nature. He primarily uses acrylic paint on wood panels, but he has also used oils. One of Kessler's well-known paintings is Fritillary, which features a swirling and dripping shape broken into blocks of different colors. The sage and earth-tone color palette infuses the painting with the natural feel that has become one of Kessler's hallmarks. He received his break when Tuttle introduced him to a New York City gallery owner named Jack Tilton. Kessler showed some of his paintings at the gallery, and it launched his career. He had five solo exhibitions at Tilton's gallery and won the Rome Prize in 1991.

Though influenced by nature, Kessler also lists music, books, and movies among his inspirations. He rarely sketches and prefers to begin painting without a plan. One of his inspirations is Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). In a recent interview, Kessler explained: "He was basically just a normal guy who loved to make beautiful paintings based on nature, and he surrounded himself with natural beauty." Jeunesse is another typical representation of his work. The piece is painted with sage and neutral tones and features a prominent filigree design. The painting's color palette, swirling lines, and texture give it the appearance of a treasure map. The work is further accentuated with two geometric grids.

Kessler’s work has been shown at Gallery Bienvenu in New Orleans, Madison Gallery in La Jolla, and Lanoue Fine Art in Boston. He won the Pollock-Krasner Award in 1992 and received a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 1983. The artist is married and lives and works in Santa Fe, NM.

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Michael Kessler,

 

Michael Kessler
Blue Gallery
Michael Kessler,

 

Michael Kessler
Blue Gallery
Michael Kessler,

 

Michael Kessler
Blue Gallery
Michael Kessler, Acrogen 2

 

Michael Kessler
Acrogen 2
Blue Gallery
Michael Kessler, Ajuna

 

Michael Kessler
Ajuna
Blue Gallery
Michael Kessler, Electret

 

Michael Kessler
Electret
Ann Korologos Gallery
Michael Kessler, Grill 11

 

Michael Kessler
Grill 11
2012

Callan Contemporary
Michael Kessler, Aspenized 20, 23, & 19

 

Michael Kessler
Aspenized 20, 23, & 19
2012

Callan Contemporary
Michael Kessler, Waterclock

 

Michael Kessler
Waterclock
2012

Callan Contemporary
Past auction results (19)  View All
Michael Kessler, Cella-I

 

Michael Kessler
Cella-I, 1992
acrylic on wood

 

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Michael Kessler, Gallipot

 

Michael Kessler
Gallipot
oil on panel

 

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Michael Kessler, Liquid earth no.4

 

Michael Kessler
Liquid earth no.4, 1996
acrylic on wood

 

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1954   Born in Hanover, PA. Education: BFA, Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA.
1977   Whitney Independent Study Program, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
1983   Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Grant in Painting
1985   Awards in the Visual Arts-Five, Grant in Painting, South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art
1990   Rome Prize, Painting, American Academy in Rome
1992   Pollock/Krasner Award, Painting, New York, New York
  Currently lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico
2009   Melanee Cooper Gallery, Chicago, Illinios (solo)
2008   George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles, California (solo)
2008   Blink Gallery, Boulder, Colorado (solo)
2008   Melanee Cooper Gallery, Chicago, Illinios (solo)
2008   Artamo Gallery, Sanata Barbara, California (solo)
2008   Schmidt Dean Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (solo)
2008   Renee George Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina (solo)
2008   Nuart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2007   Sense Gallery, Menlo Park, California
2007   Butters Gallery, Portland, Oregon
2006   Gallery Bienvenu, New Orleans, Louisana
2006   Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, Texas
2006   Friesen Gallery, Sun Valley, Idaho
2006   Melanee Cooper Gallery, Chicago, Illinios
2006   Schmidt Dean Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2006   Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida
2006   Reed Savage Gallery, Coral Gables, Florida
2005   Nuart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2005   Sense Gallery, Menlo Park, California.
2005   Butters Gallery, Portland, Oregon
2005   Friesen Gallery, Seattle, Washington
2004   Nuart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2004   Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida
2004   Schmidt/Dean Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2004   Magidson Fine Art, Aspen, Colorado
2003   Nuart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2003   Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, Texas
2003   Butters Gallery, Portland, Oregon
2003   Littlejohn Contemporary, New York, New York
2003   Sense Gallery, Menlo Park, Ca
2002   Nuart Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2002   Concept Art Gallery; Pittsburgh, Pa
2002   Schmidt/Dean Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2001   EVO Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2001   Allyn Gallup Contemporary, Sarasota, Florida
2001   Bonfoey Company, Cleveland , Ohio
2000   Klein Art Works, Chicago, Illinoi
1999   Littlejohn Contemporary, New York, New York
1999   Klein Art Works, Chicago, Illin
1999   Mirmar Gallery; Sarasota, Florida
1999   Schmidt/Dean Gallery; Phila, Pennsylvania
1998   Bemis Center of Contemporary Art, Omaha, Nebraska
1998   Craighead Green Gallery, Dallas, Texas
1997   Klein Art Works Chicago, IL
1997   Abstract Confluence, Klein Art Works Chicago, IL
1995   Fields of Light 1995, Art Now Gallery Gothenburg, Sweden
1994   Virginia Miller Galleries Coral Gables, FL
1993   The Substance of Amber, Art Now Gallery Gothenburg, Sweden
1993   About Nature, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art Cleveland, OH
1991   Vital Forces: Nature in Contemporary Abstraction, Heckscher Museum Huntington, NY
1990   Schmidt/Dean Gallery Philadelphia, PA
1988   Land, ACA Gallery New York, NY
1987   Realism & Abstraction, The Newark Museum Newark, NJ
1987   Jack Tilton Gallery New York, NY
1983   Five Contemporary Artists, Allentown Art Museum Allentown, PA