Richard Earl Thompson is one of the most sought after American 20th century landscape Impressionists. He studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Art (1930-31) and the American Academy of Art (1932-1933) and the Chicago Art Institute (1935-1937) and was highly influenced by the works of the French Impressionists and by Chase, Duveneck, Enneking and C.F. Ryder.
He was instructor of art at the American Academy of Art before he became a freelance illustrator during the Great Depression for Anheuser-Busch, Standard Oil and Miller Brewing Company. Leaving commercial art to paint outdoors, his first solo exhibition was at the Guildhall Galleries of Chicago (1959) and others followed at the Grinnel Galleries (IL), Art Originals Gallery (Milwaukee), Harriett Crane Galleries (OH) The Gallery (Palm Beach), J.P. Kelp Gallery (TX) and elsewhere.
Although critics called him “Wisconsin’s Monet,” he preferred to be his own man and did not want to be so categorized. Remaining somewhat of a recluse in order to find enough time to paint everyday, he was a member of the Palette and Chisel Club (Chicago) and the Salmagundi Club (NY).
His solo museum shows include the Berstrorm Art Center, Neenah, WS; Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WS; the R.W. Norton Gallery, Shreveport, LA.
Until his death in 1991, Thompson maintained studios in Wisconsin and Florida and his son and namesake ran a thriving gallery that featured Richard Earl Thompson’s work in San Francisco until 1988. The artist sought to paint as truthfully and accurately en plein aire the diversity, complexity, intricacies and uncommon splendors found in the natural landscape.
Painting in quick daubs, squiggles and dashes, Thompson’s impressionism couples realistic passages or focused hard line linear constructions with broad, looser tapestries of opaque or translucent paint. Concerned with light, shadow, reflections, distance, concept and movement, Thompson captured on canvases fleeting moments than otherwise may have gone unnoticed or unrecorded. His universal approach to render the commonplace truthfully has long-term validity. His work is represented in many corporate, private and museum collections throughout the world.