Lack is one of the most influential pupils of R. H. Ives Gammell.
His artistic training began at the Minneapolis School of Art, but
his interest in the classical traditions soon led him to the atelier
of Ives Gammell, with whom he studied for
five years in the Fenway Studios in Boston from 1950 to 1956.
training was interrupted for two years of service in the U.S. Army.
In 1955 he traveled to Europe on a scholarship to study the Old
Masters, particularly Peter Paul Rubens, whose work has greatly
influenced him both in style and method.
In 1957 he returned to
Minneapolis with his wife, Katherine, bought a house and built
a studio designed to simulate the lighting conditions recommended
in the notebooks of Leonardo da Vince. There he began to paint
a variety of work - still life,
portrait, genre, landscape and imaginative paintings based on myth,
history and the psychology of C. G. Jung.
of Lack's work and the importance of his teaching methods earned
him three scholarships from the Elizabeth T. Greenshields Memorial
Foundation in Montreal, Canada as well as a grant from the John
R. and Anna Lee Stacy Scholarship Fund.
In 1969 he founded the Atelier
Lack, a small, nonprofit school of drawing and painting with an apprentice
program based on the teaching methods of the 19th-century French
ateliers and the Boston impressionists. His sound training, experience
with diverse painting methods and mastery of so many genres of painting
made him a uniquely qualified teacher. For many years his atelier
was the only place outside of Boston where students could be trained
in that tradition and he has had several important students. He retired
from teaching in 1992 due to ill health.
During his long career Lack
has exhibited widely throughout the United States, in both solo
and group exhibitions, winning
many awards and honors. A large retrospective of his work was held
at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington, in 1988.
his career Lack has been a highly sought-after portrait artist and
has painted many notable figures, among them six portraits for the
Kennedy family of Hyannisport, MA, a portrait for England's
future Earl of Wilmot, and Minnesota Governors Wendell Anderson and
During recent years he has devoted
most of his time and energy to painting a series of large works based
on Jungian psychology which depict man's inner journey toward individuation and psychological
Lack is the author of many articles
on art including the influencial booklet entitled On the Training
of Painters: With Notes on the Atelier Program. He edited the
book Realism in Revolution: The Art of the Boston School.
Richard is co-founder of the Classical Realism Quarterly,
the forerunner of the Classical Realism Journal. He is also
co-founder of The American Society of Classical Realism and, along
with Stephen Gjertson and Donald Koestner, a founding member of its
Guild of Artists. Articles written about him and his work are numerous
and include "Richard
Lack's System of Training Painters," American Artist, Summer
1971, and "Is it Radical to Paint like Rembrandt?" Twin Cities,
July 1983. Richard is listed in Who's Who in American Art, Who's Who in International Art and Antiques and International
Biographies. Lack is an emeritus member of The American Society
of Classical Realism Guild of Artists.