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The Art of Joe Wilder

Joe Wilder’s recognition as a significant artist was predictable following his first show in 1969 at the Allan Stone Gallery when he received glowing reviews in Art News, The New York Times, The New York magazine, Time Magazine and others. In addition William Burden, president of The Museum of Modern Art bought two of his racing cars paintings. Bayard Ewing, then president of The Rhode Island Museum collected another major Wilder work. Subsequently Morris Offit, president of The Jewish Museum purchased eight major Wilder paintings including his famous “New York Marathon” painting, still lifes and athletes. From 1959 until recent months Wilder’s climb to recognition and fame has steadily increased. His work continues to be shown at some of the finest galleries in the nation including The Allan Stone Gallery, The Powell St. Gallery in San Francisco The Babcock gallery which featured his still lifes and The Vered Gallery in Easthampton and the list goes on.

Unlike many artists who’s paintings fit into only a handful of categories Joe Wilder has an extraordinary plate filled with images, frequently very contrasting in mood and substance. He has been recognized for his beautiful creations of still lifes, seascapes and landscapes, birds and animals, nudes and portraits, racing cars, horse races, athletes and last but not least his paintings of surgeons have created an avalanche of responses from around the world. Over a hundred years have passed since the great Thomas Eakins did his famous surgeon painting of “The Gross Clinic.” Donald Kuspit in a recent review of Wilder’s surgeon images felt he captured the essence of Surgeons being a committed surgeon himself which Eakins failed to do.

Wilder has the poetic sensitivity to create the extremes of artistic expression with a series of gentle sweet still lifes on small canvases saving his large canvases for roaring racing cars, horses, boxers and every kind of athlete. All of his work has received outstanding critical review.

In 1985 Harry Abrams published his first art book entitled “Athletes The Paintings of Joe Wilder” which contained one hundred and eighteen full page color sports painting reproductions. This book received wide critical acclaim and The Metropolitan Museum, The Boston Museum of Fine Art, The Art Institute of Chicago and The National Gallery in Washington placed this book along with other great art treasures in their book store. In 1981 The National Gallery in Washington featured Wilder’s great painting of Willis Reed in the first major sports show held in a major museum held in this nation. Of the hundred items in the show Wilder’s painting of reed was one of the hits and in July 1981 it was reproduced in The Smithsonian Institution next to Warhol’s O.J. Simpson.

In 1993 Wilder second art book entitled “Surgical Reflections Images In Paint And Prose” containing one hundred and twenty of Wilder’s images covering the whole spectrum of his work from athletes to peaches, from horse races to nudes, literally covering every major aspect of Wilder’s images, including over a dozen of his unique original paintings of the surgeon at work. The American Medical Writers Association awarded this book first prize for being the most beautiful medical book published in 1993.

Joe Wilder has appeared on Sunday Morning News, ABC, NBC. In April of 1998 he appeared on Prime Time TV on every PBS station in the country in Ageless Heroes. He was chosen as one of ten heroes selected for their great achievement.