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Michael Hennessy

Michael’s figurative paintings are the extension of his deep and passionate aesthetic for the primacy of skill over pure conceptualization. As a young American student in Germany, he studied the wealth of sculpture and painting found in European churches and palaces, convinced that to be an artist meant to seek the same level of expertise as those masters who spent years in apprenticeship perfecting technique. His work also draws a thread from passionate artistic spirit to spirituality itself.


Michael was introduced to the world of art by his 84 year old Grandfather who gave him his first lesson in art. He was a civil engineer, and from his wheelchair, drew a box on an old napkin. Five year old Michael was captivated as the box quickly turned into a small house with just a few simple strokes of the pen.


Michael’s mother enrolled him in private art classes at the age of eight, where he learned to draw. There he learned about values, shadowing, perspective, and proportion. After graduating from Brown University with a degree in International Relations and working as the Speech Writer to the Ambassador from Thailand to the United Nations, Michael continued his studies in art and enrolled in continuing education courses at New York’s Art Students League, The New School, and The School of the Visual Arts. His talent became readily apparent, and it was one of his teachers, the late Richard Pionck, who was then also the President of The Salmagundi Club, who encouraged Michael to be a representational painter. Michael has since become a member and resident artist at the Salmagundi Club, where he was also a member of its Jurying Committee. Inspired by painters like John Singer Sargent, Adolf Menzel, and Julius Kronberg, Michael balances painterly fluidity with exacting realism. Moreover, he looks to the great Hudson River School painters for guidance and knowledge in his landscapes – while placing his own unique mark on each work. 


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