Aristides and LeQuire: Kindred Artists 

By Meghan E. Gattignolo 

Once again, the extraordinary Juliette Aristides and the irreplaceable Alan LeQuire are gracing the galleries of the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center with the presence of their artistic talents. Aristides paints and draws in the classical realist tradition, and LeQuire is one of Tennessee’s most well-known sculptors. Both have been featured in exhibits at our Museum before, as well as in other galleries around the world. Read on to learn who they are and what makes them the perfect pair to share an exhibit this time around. 

The Masterful Work of Aristides 

Based in Seattle, Washington, Juliette Aristides has been called a “living master.” She is a classical realist, painting subjects as they are, using similar techniques to the old masters. Realists strive to capture the world around them without changing too many details in a way that feels like a glimpse of the artist’s experiences. Aristides’ work features contemporary subjects, like people she knows and everyday objects. 

Juliette Aristides previously exhibited her work at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down came to an end. Much of that show consisted of a series of works that focused on her environment when she was forced to stay home for several months in a row. Her resulting paintings showcased the simple beauty of the teapots, fruit and hallways that were part of her daily experience.   

Aristides is a student of classical realism in art, as well as a teacher. She is the founder of the Classical Atelier at the Gage Academy of Fine Art, the author of several books, and is a proponent of the atelier movement, which focuses on learning art in a studio, rather than in a classroom.   

Oil on panel
Juliette Aristides, 2020

Alan LeQuire with Athena Parthenos

Sculptures by LeQuire 

Alan LeQuire is one of Tennessee’s foremost sculptors. Originally from the Nashville area, he has studied bronze sculpture in Italy and his work now can be found all over the world in private collections. If you’ve been to the Parthenon at Centennial Park in Nashville, you’ve seen his work up close in the form of the Greek goddess Athena. The Athena Parthenos is the largest statue of its kind in the western hemisphere. Alan LeQuire established The LeQuire Gallery in Nashville, where he showcases his own work, as well as the work of other substantial artists. 

The work featured in this current exhibit are figurative forms sculpted from terra cotta, a reddish orange clay material. If you’re a plant person, you will be familiar with the material in the light brown clay pots you plant your succulents in. The word means “baked or cooked earth” in Latin. LeQuire enjoys working with clay. He refers to earth as “the humblest medium, but also the noblest.”   

Susan Reading
Terra cotta
Alan LeQuire

Charcoal, oil
Juliette Aristides

Matched in Vision 

Showcasing the work of Aristides and LeQuire together simply makes sense. Aristides has exhibited her work at The LeQuire Gallery and both artists glean inspiration from the work of artists from antiquity. In Italy, LeQuire was introduced to master craftsmen still practicing the art of bronze casting from ancient times. The atelier movement Aristides is part of focuses on the historic way of learning art techniques. Both artists are universally recognized as masters in their field. Of course, both are also inspired by the human form, a subject which features heavily in their work.  

Juliette Aristides & Alan LeQuire: The Figure in Charcoal & Terra Cotta celebrates the lines, curves and complexities of the human form through drawings and sculptures. The exhibit is available to view now until January 28, 2024. The Customs House Museum & Cultural Center is open to visitors Tuesday – Saturday from 10am to 5:30pm and Sunday 1pm to 5:30pm.   

Read more about Juliette Aristides, Alan LeQuire and their work from their own websites:

Meghan E. Gattignolo is a freelance writer and longtime Clarksville, TN resident. She loves to obsess about historical subjects and annoy her family daily with unsolicited random facts. Meghan holds a History B.A. from Austin Peay State University and lives in town with her husband and two daughters. 

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