Paintings of Virtue, Purity Renew Hope in Traditional Fine Arts

By Miguel Moreno

NEW YORK—In one painting, Jennifer Gehr tells her grandfather a secret. He knew how to keep one, and that trust was part of why the Swiss artist decided to paint him.

“For me he was, actually, the theme: Pure Kindness,” said Gehr, referring to the theme of the competition. “He was pure beauty, he was the best man. He was even our best man when we got married and I miss him very much.”

Jennifer Gehr
Jennifer Gehr, the painter of “The Secret,” is interviewed by NTD News at the Salmagundi Art Club in New York, N.Y., on Nov. 24, 2019. (Henry Yan/NTD)

Gehr is a finalist in the 2019 NTD International Figure Painting Competition. The competition strives to forge a path back to authentic fine arts.

For artists like Gehr and Jesús Inglés, this is an opportunity to return to traditional fine art.

“I think it’s true that in the last few years, the arts have degraded a lot,” said Inglés, a Spanish painter. But he believes there is a revival.

Protecting One’s Values

Inglés’s painting focuses on reconnecting humanity with nature.

“In the center you see man represented by a young girl, a young girl who has marks on her face, like marks of war,” he said. “This signifies that being human, being the dominant species, he has the will and obligation to protect the environment he lives in—his ecosystem.”

Jesús Inglés
Jesús Inglés, painter of “Eat and Not Be Eaten,” is interviewed by NTD News at the Salmagundi Art Club in New York, N.Y., on Nov. 24, 2019. (Henry Yan/NTD)

Other finalists portrayed the protection of their faith, primarily their faith in Falun Dafa—a meditation practice whose practitioners have been heavily persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party since 1999.

A gold medal was not given in the previous competition, as the judging committee felt no painting met that criteria. Four silver medals were given, however, two of which were awarded to Falun Dafa related paintings.

April 25, 1999
Visitors gather around the painting “April 25, 1999,” by Haiyan Kong, at the Salmagundi Art Club in New York, N.Y., on Nov. 23, 2019. (Henry Yan/NTD)

Sandra Kuck, from the United States, received the highest award. Once again, a painting of Kuck’s granddaughter made it to the finals.

“This is a painting about jeweled color, and light and darkness,” Kuck said about her painting. “As a prism of light flows across my granddaughter as she’s reading on the Chinese bench.”

Susan Kuck
Susan Kuck, the painter of “Yin and Yang,” is interviewed by NTD News at the Salmagundi Art Club in New York, N.Y., on Nov. 24, 2019. (Henry Yan/NTD)

Kuck said one of the reasons she participated in this competition is because she agrees with NTD’s mission of restoring traditional arts.

The awards ceremony will be held on Nov. 26, and the auction will occur on Nov. 30.