Hixenbaugh Ancient Art is pleased to present the paintings of John Woodrow Kelley:



On view from September 15 through October 8.

The selection of paintings inspired by Classical Mythology are exhibited amongst select works of authentic ancient art. The modern and the antique complement one another. Mr. Kelley's work fills the lacunae left by the destructive ravages of time, restoring the vibrant flesh and color to representations of ancient Greek deities. His careful studies of ancient statuary place the subjects back in their original context as living models before the working artist's eyes.

Mr. Kelley is an artist whose entire life's work is devoted to creating a contemporary interpretation of the classical tradition in western civilization. This ambition is expressed through a series of paintings inspired by Greek mythology, as well as a study of the uniqueness of the human individual through the genre of portraiture. Mr. Kelley's attraction to Greek mythology is born of the belief that it embodies everything that is timeless about the human experience, and therefore is worthy of an interpretation expressing our own age.

Mr. Kelley dates the beginning of his interest in classicism to the time when, at age six, his parents took him to the world's only full scale replica of the Greek Parthenon in the capital of his home state, Nashville, Tennessee. The human oriented proportions of that building, and the canon of beauty expressed in the collection of plaster casts of the great fifth century b.c. statues by Polykleitos and Pheidias which are inside, began his lifelong ambition to express the classical tradition. Mr. Kelley took a degree in art history from the University of Tennessee and a degree in architecture from Pratt Institute in New York before turning to the study of painting and drawing at the Art Students League and the New York Academy in New York. His Principal teacher was Mr. Ted Jacobs, who teaches the precepts of the academic tradition, with it's emphasis on accurate drawing and the study of anatomy. Mr.Jacobs now presides over his own school in the south of France.

During the course of his career Mr. Kelley has received commissions from such institutions as the Morgan Library, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and Yale University. Mr. Kelley has shown his work at, among others, the John Pence Gallery in San Francisco, Ca., and Fischbach Gallery in New York, and Pandora Old Masters in Milan, Italy. His work is represented in the private collections of the senior vice president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mr. Ashton Hawkins, and the writers, Mr. Reynolds Price and Mr. David Halberstam. His work has been published in the New York Times, the American Arts Quarterly, the Italian magazine,"Amica", and the architectural publication,"The Classicist." Mr. Kelley is a fellow of the Morgan Library, and a fellow of the Institute of Classical Architecture. He divides his time between his studios in New York City and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Mr. Kelley's conviction about the perennial relevance of classicism to human sensibility, and his determination to create a body of work expressing a contemporary interpretation of that tradition, places him squarely in the growing body of artists who are rebelling against the meaningless gimmickry and vacuity of modernism in the visual arts. The writer Tom Wolf recently predicted in the New York Times that the modern giants so touted today by the art mafia will be as forgotten in the coming century as the great academic masters once were in the last. Mr. Kelley firmly believes that the truly revolutionary art of the twenty-first century will not only employ the universal language of representationalism, but will also embody a spiritual continuity with the great classical tradition of humanity.

"The Greek myths embody everything that is timeless about the human experience. They reveal truths and acknowledge mysteries. They survive in the subconscious of Western man to the point that to learn about them is to experience a shock of recognition. They have been a successful vehicle for man's pursuit of self knowledge for countless generations, which is the reason I have chosen to make yet another interpretation of them through my paintings. Each generation has been inspired to a unique interpretation, and I have tried to present the old myths in a new way, showing all the irony and conflict of the modern world. The figures are contemporary, but the situations are ancient. It is a way of saying,"we are new, but we are old," "we are young, but we must die". History continually humbles the arrogance of man. The Greek myths tell us that this is our fate as well as our redemption."

~ John Woodrow Kelley


Past Exhibitions

new book:

A Complete Guide and Catalog

From 03/21/2019 to 04/27/2019


The photography of Joseph Coscia Jr.

And accompanying ancient glass through December 7

From 10/25/2018 to 11/25/2018


From 05/10/2018 to 05/31/2018

REALM OF OSIRIS: Art of the Egyptian Mummy

Through November 18

From 10/26/2017 to 11/18/2017


through October 14

From 09/21/2017 to 10/14/2017

The GODDESS exhibition features sculpture of of the divine female form in antiquity.

The photography of Joseph Coscia

From 05/19/2017 to 06/30/2017


on view through February 25

From 01/19/2017 to 02/25/2017

Light on Stone:

the photography of Joseph Coscia

From 10/20/2016 to 12/24/2016


From 06/09/2016 to 07/30/2016


From 04/07/2016 to 05/28/2016


December through February 2016

From 12/10/2015 to 02/13/2016

Art of Ancient America

From 10/29/2015 to 12/05/2015

On view in our Chelsea gallery from October 29 through December 5

PAX ROMANA: Roman art exhibition

From 09/17/2015 to 10/24/2015

On view exclusively at our Chelsea gallery from September 17 to October 24


From 06/04/2015 to 08/01/2015

On view exclusively at our Chelsea gallery from June 4 to August 1

SYMPOSIUM: Wine and Revelry in Antiquity

From 04/16/2015 to 05/30/2015

On view exclusively at our Chelsea gallery from April 16th to May 30.

the face of antiquity

From 02/01/2015 to 04/11/2015

Our inaugural show in our newly opened Chelsea gallery, on view now through April 11th, explores the widely varied depictions of the human face in ancient art.

Neo-Assyrian Arms and Armor on Display

From 11/15/2011 to 12/31/2011


From 06/01/2008 to 06/30/2008

Our current exhibition includes a number of rare and unusual examples of ancient arms and armor including, Greek bronze helmets and horse armor, Roman legionary bricks, Celtic swords and spears, as well as a number of ancient projectile points.

FEMINA: Women of Antiquity

From 03/27/2008 to 04/30/2008

A special exhibition examining the iconography of women in ancient art


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