Mr. Joseph Sheppard is an internationally renowned painter and sculptor. As one of the great contemporary masters of figurative art in the realist tradition, Sheppard believes that to portray the human figure in any medium, one must first understand its intricate anatomy. So he has made that awareness a central focus of his life’s work, as a student, a teacher, and an artist.
Sheppard first discovered his innate talent and meticulous eye for detail at the age of 12. Determined to make his own mark as an artist, he earned a scholarship to the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Although Sheppard began his studies there at a time when modernist abstraction was the latest craze, he quickly rekindled his passion for three-dimensional form and perspective under the influence of Jacques Maroger, the legendary classical painter and former art conservator at the Louvre.
Among his many accomplishments, in 1961 he co-founded the Six Realists, a group of young artists who, determined to promote their work, took over a vacant gallery in Baltimore. But after drawing 2,000 people on opening night, the three-week exhibition turned into a three-year venture, earning tremendous acclaim and support for the six enterprising organizers. Sheppard also returned to MICA, this time to teach painting and life drawing to a new generation of emerging artists.
In the decades that followed, Sheppard built an enviable reputation in the art world. He has been awarded numerous honors, including the Gold Medal of Honor in 1994 from the National Sculpture Society in New York City, and more recently, the XVIII Premio Internazionale Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel Mondo in Italy.
In addition, his work can be found in the collections of such prestigious institutions as the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio, the Malcolm Forbes Collection in New York, the University of Maryland University College, the Columbus Museum of Fine Arts in Ohio, the Midwest Museum of American Art in Indiana, the National Art Museum of Sports in Indiana, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., and the Museo Dei Bozzetti in Pietrasanta in Italy.