Michael Del Priore was born on 1954 in Columbia. He was an American portrait painter with an international reputation, known for oil and pastel portraits in the style of classic realism.
Michael Del Priore was a nationally award-winning portrait artist who was at the forefront of American portrait painting. Originally from South Carolina, Del Priore painted over 850 portraits in his more than 35-year career. His works can be found in many state capitals, state supreme courts, universities, banks, hospitals, boardrooms, and private collections. Distinguished themes include Bill Gates, Senators Strom Thurman, Richard Shelby and Pat Roberts; Governors Carroll Campbell, Robert McNair and Jim Edwards; Congressmen Henry Hyde and Bryan Dorn, and Congressmen Gerald Solomon and Bill Young can be found at the United States Capitol. He also painted speakers Robert Sheheen and David Wilkins. Del Priore studied at the New York National Academy with the well-known portrait painter Everett Raymond Kinstler, and also with Nelson Shanks, Daniel Greene, Richard Whitney, John Sanden and Ray Goodbread. With a background in illustration work and more studies with nationally renowned artists, Del Priore had a strong portrait base. He taught at the University of South Carolina and the Columbia Art Museum, and has lectured and demonstrated his art to civic groups at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Academy of Art, and Palette and Chisel in Chicago. . He was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Society of Portrait Artists and, as a past president, was a member of the New York Artists Scholarship Society. Del Priore was listed in the Who’s Who of South Carolina Artists, and regularly lectures and demonstrates for civic groups, guilds, institutes, and individuals. He currently served as Executive Director of the Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center (PACAC), a new addition to the revitalized center of Williamston, SC.
He was about 46 years old.
Del Priore’s notable portraits include President Ronald Reagan, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and former House Speaker Rep. John Boehner. Thirteen of his portraits are in the art collection of the United States House of Representatives, ten are on display in the art collection of the Statehouse of South Carolina. He has painted portraits of eight of South Carolina’s governors: Strom Thurmond, Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings, Donald S. Russell, Robert Evander McNair, James B. Edwards, Richard Riley, Carroll A. Campbell Jr. and David Beasley. Among his portraits displayed at the South Carolina Statehouse, three in the Senate Chamber, are acclaimed senators: Edward E. Saleeby, John Drummond and John W. Matthews, Jr. Two of his paintings in the House Chamber are from former House Presidents David H. Wilkins and Robert J. Sheheen.
Del Priore’s artistic talents were evident in his childhood. After graduating from Columbia High School in 1972, he landed a job locally as an advertising artist in the J.B. White, producing art for The State newspaper and making independent art for local businesses. He became friends with established portrait artist Gian Cassone after watching him paint exceptional portraits at a booth in Richland Mall. Cassone, who had studied at the Chicago Art Institute and the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy, saw Del Priore’s gross talent, but noted his lack of experience and said, “Go home and stick out a thousand heads, then teach you what you need to know.” Del Priore completed the great task, returning in just six weeks. Cassone never expected to see him again, but true to her word, she introduced Del Priore to mastering oil and pastel portrait painting techniques. Under Cassone’s tutelage, he completed hundreds of portraits over a 5-year period at the mall location. In 1979, Del Priore was commissioned to paint his first publicly known nationally elected official when Congressman William Jennings Bryan Dorn asked him to do his portrait for a permanent display in the foyer of the new Dorn VA Hospital in Columbia, named in your Honor. In 1980, on Cassone’s recommendation, Del Priore moved to Charleston, SC, to study oil painting with renowned artist Ray Goodbred at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Goodbred, who had studied at the Art Students League with Ogden Pleissner and Robert Brackman, was maintaining dual residences in New York and Charleston at the time. Goodbred taught him master skills including palette organizing, anatomy basics, and brush manipulation by painting live models and conducting still life studies.
After returning to Columbia in 1984, Del Priore participated in a competition announced in the state newspaper for artists to make an official oil portrait of the former governor, U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond for the Senate of the Carolina House of Representatives. del Sur, in honor of his 50th year of public service. . More than 200 artists responded. The selection was narrowed to two, Del Priore and the famous portraitist, Robert Bruce Williams of Washington, DC. “In this case, being a South Carolinian worked to my advantage,” said Del Priore. “Because Senator Thurmond was famous for supporting his constituents from the home state, he chose me. Later, the positive response I received from the public helped me move from the mall to a studio, as I no longer had to seek commissions It was a great blessing and an important milestone in my career. ” Del Priore has established professional relationships with America’s leading portraitists, studying with John Howard Sanden, Daniel Greene, Richard Whitney, the late Nelson Shanks, and the late Everett Raymond Kinstler. He has lectured and demonstrated portraits at the University of South Carolina, the Columbia Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the League of Art Students of New York; the University of San Francisco Academy of Art and the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago.
Del Priore is a former president and board member of the American Society of Portrait Artists (now known as the Portrait Society of America) . He was a member of the Artists Fellowship Society of New York and is listed in Who’s Who of American Artists. He serves as Executive Director of the Palmetto Area Cultural Arts Center in Williamston, In 2018, Governor of South Carolina Henry McMaster introduced him to the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor bestowed by the Governor in recognition of his lifetime achievements in the arts.
His words about “portrait painting”
“I feel that portrait painting is the most noble of all art because it comes into intimate contact with human nature. Just as man is the highest form of life, so the painting of mankind must be pre-eminent for posterity.”
Cause Of Death
Family members say Michael Del Priore died on Tuesday from natural causes after battling an illness for more than a year.
The Portrait Society statement
Very sad news to report the passing of Michael Del Priore, a talented, giving and award-winning portrait artist. Over his 40 year career he painted almost 1,000 portraits which are in private and public commissions across the country. He was always willing to share his process with fellow artists and found joy in painting and meeting people. Sympathies to his family and many friends.
$ 1.5 millones