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The First Moment’s Observation: Paintings by Nicholas Kilmer

May 11 - August 18

Nicholas Kilmer, 2008, Oil on canvas. Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia. Gift of Nicholas and Julia Kilmer.

Nicholas Kilmer, a native of Washington, D.C., grew up in Virginia, attended American University, the Catholic University of America, and Georgetown University. After earning a master’s degree at Harvard University, he embarked on a decades-long career in education. In 1988 he founded Nicholas Kilmer Fine Art and has devoted himself primarily to his painting ever since.

Since the 1970s, he has also written extensively, including a very successful series of eight mysteries (1995–2011) that explore the art world in a way that only an insider could, as well as six produced plays, translations of poetry from French, Italian, and Greek into English, a memoir, exhibition catalogs, and original poetry that has appeared in leading journals.

His paintings capture the intensity of a first moment of observation. His work revives the classic impressionist technique of revisiting the same scene to experience the ephemeral qualities of light, atmosphere, and illusion, always keeping in mind his initial response. Through his work, he imparts to the viewer a technique that he terms “the speed of looking.” 

Color is fundamental to Kilmer’s vision. His bright, vibrant palette reads symbolically. Although he does not always choose a subject for its color, color sometimes becomes the subject of a painting. Known for working rapidly, spontaneously, and with great concentration, he prefers to paint directly from nature. His subjects have included friends’ gardens, bodies of water, the human figure, his own backyard, and the countryside in Normandy, where his grandfather, renowned American impressionist Frederick Frieseke, also painted. 


May 11
August 18
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Morris Museum of Art
1 Tenth Street
Augusta, GA 30901 United States
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