Lucky is the owner with a wall or decorative painting treatment created by artist Bob Christian. Best known for the freehand landscape murals he painted in many of the country’s finest homes, the Savannah-based painter received a prestigious Arthur Ross Award for Excellence in Classical Tradition by the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art. October 4.
Christian accepted his award in the Fine Art category at a dinner and ceremony hosted by the ICAA at the University Club of New York. Six other design luminaries in the categories Architecture (Skurman Architects), Crafts and Crafts (Hyde Park Moldings), Landscape (Hollander Design Landscape Architects), Publishing (Charles Miers and Rizzoli), Patronage (Goldman Sachs Executive Vice President and Philanthropist John FW Rogers) and a board honor (Michael Lykoudis, professor of architecture at Notre Dame) were also officially recognized for their 2020 awards.
Christian has long been a favorite collaborator of the best interior designers. After studying painting at the Atlanta College of Art, Christian trained in decorative arts with John Rosselli in New York. He returned to the South in 1982 to open Bob Christian Decorative Art with his wife Julia. In addition to canvases, walls, ceilings and floors, Christian paints furniture and accessories; earlier this year he collaborated with VERANDA on a limited series of planters.
One aspect of Christian’s work that really sets him apart is the creativity and artistic direction he brings to a collaboration with an interior designer.
“When you work with Bob Christian on a project, you just have to give him a word and he begins his creative process,” says designer Bunny Williams, who chaired the Arthur Ross Prize jury. “Tapestry. chinese wallpaper. Italian fresco. Departmental garden. primitive American. Exotic wood grain. Fantasy clouds. Dense forest. The rest comes from the inspirations stored in his mind. “
The way Christian works is almost as gorgeous as his finished product, his brother Howard notes. “While Bob regularly prepares sketches and floor plans, the work is in his head and in his heart,” he says. “While painting, the images emerge with a quick and demanding brushstroke, as if they were pre-established. It is a wonder to see him work.”
The 2020 Arthur Ross Prize winners were selected by a jury consisting of Williams (chair), architect James F. Carter, architect Elizabeth Dillon, muralist Anne Harris, landscape architect Kathryn Herman, the editor-in-chief of VERANDA Steele Marcoux and the architect Gil Schafer III. This year’s Arthur Ross Awards co-chairs include architect Ankie Barnes, architect and interior designer Steven Gambrel and interior designer Suzanne Tucker. The honorary presidents are Janet C. Ross, Suzanne R. Santry, Bunny Williams and the Ambassador and Mrs. William J. vanden Heuvel.
Established in 1982 by New York businessman and philanthropist Arthur Ross and architecture critic Henry Hope Reed, the awards recognize the achievements and contributions of architects, painters, sculptors, craftsmen, d interior designers, landscapers, educators, publishers, patrons and others dedicated to preserving and advancing the classical tradition.
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