Praise for John Court from Thomas M. Messer,
Director Emeritus, Guggenheim Museum of Art
“The existence and prospering of John Court as a painter and a portrait artist in mid-career, by his achievement to date, is heartening news to anyone interested in the preservation and prosperity of the visual arts. Most of my own work in the visual arts has been concerned with what is loosely called vanguard art, but I have been exposed to enough military life to know that the vanguard exist from and for the sake of the main body of troops; in art, portraiture is very close to being the heart of that main body.
“If there was a Golden Age of American portraiture, it was probably between 1880 and the first World War, years in which Whistler, Sargent, Cassatt and, above all, Eakins, were all painting portraits, along with other subjects. It was only with the rise of the first self-consciously avant-guard group of artists, those around Robert Henri, that the American portrait began to vanish from the work of the best artists. As one avant-guard succeeded another and so on, that remained a common failing. In recent years, Willem de Kooning has painted some powerful portraits and, in their own highly individual manners, so have Chuck Close and Andy Warhol, but these examples have been few and far between. Hence, the pleasure derived from the existence of John Court as a practicing portrait artist. And he is not exclusively a portrait painter, but also executes highly competent figure groups, landscapes and still lifes. This, too, is a good sign, putting him in the company of Whistler and Eakins, not merely that of Sargent and Stewart, superb portrait painters though they were.
“For all these reasons, most especially for the merit of his work, John Court is a most welcome addition to the landscape of American painting. It is enriched by his presence.”