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James Nance

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Barack Obama portrait bust - side view

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Barack Obama portrait bust - side view £1000.00
Barack Obama portrait bust - front view

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Barack Obama portrait bust - front view £1000.00

Abraham Lincoln, 'Prairie Lawyer' close up

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Abraham Lincoln, 'Prairie Lawyer' close up £6000.00
Abraham Lincoln, 'Immortal Conscience'

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Abraham Lincoln, 'Immortal Conscience' £6000.00
Elvis - side view

Elvis - side view
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Portfolio for James Nance - Commissionaportrait

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Birth date   14 November 1948
Introduction   James J. Nance is a portrait sculptor who has for thirty years developed his artistic skills and reputation from studios in Minneapolis Minnesota and Loveland Colorado. His expressive and accurate portrait commissions in terra-cotta and bronze have received enthusiastic acclaim and have been acquired by both public and private collections.  
James was born in Dallas and grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where, inspired by his exposure to western artists such as Fredrick Remington and Charlie Russell, he developed an early interest in painting and sculpture. However, his love for aviation led him first to a career as a pilot. After graduating from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1971, he served a five year tour of duty as an Air Force pilot, including service in Viet Nam. Later, during the oil pipeline construction, he worked as a bush pilot in Alaska and then accepted a job with Hughes Air West Airlines. Several mergers later he ended up with Northwest Airlines where he was a senior international captain before taking a early retirement in 2007.  
While living in Minneapolis, James attended classes at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the Atelier Lack classical painting and drawing school. His art education was also complemented with an exhaustive study of human anatomy. Jim's wife Jeanne claims that his motto is "anything worth doing is worth overdoing," which he has vigorously applied to his study of art.  
James has always felt that the human face is the window to the soul, so it isn't surprising that he was naturally drawn to the field of portrait sculpture. His interests and talents however aren't limited to portraiture; he has continued to develop his skill in figure sculpture and in 1989 won first place in the week long prestigious Johnston International Figure Sculpture competition, sponsored annually by the International Sculpture Center of Washington D.C.  
During 1990-1991, James was a guest artist in residence at the Smithsonian National Gallery in Washington DC, where he spent countless hours drawing and sculpting after European and American masterpieces in the collection. During this period, the artist who influenced James the most was French neoclassical portrait sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon, 1741-1828, who sculpted incredible busts of Jefferson, Franklin, John Paul Jones, and Napoleon. The next year James spent six months studying renaissance sculpture at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence Italy.  
In 1994, James, his wife Jeanne, moved to Loveland Colorado, to establish a studio and take advantage of the thriving artistic climate and the proximity to several of America's finest bronze art foundries. James maintains an active sculpture business with private portrait commissions. James will travel worldwide to meet with a client for the first portrait sculpture sitting. When not sculpting, James and Jeanne enjoy Colorado mountain life with their seven dogs, Golden Retrievers Buster, Annie, and Maggie, English Springer Jasper, Welsh Corgie Tootsie, and black pugs Alfalfa and Yoda and two paint horses Gypsy and Zoey.
Education   Education  
1967 - 1971 USAF Academy, Colorado Springs, CO  
1973 – 1975 MBA, Pacific Lutheran University, WA  
1984 – 1986 Minneapolis College of Art and Design, MN  
1986 – 1989 Atelier Lack Classical Realism Academy, MN  
1987 –1989 University of Minnesota Medical School, Anatomy
Awards   Awards  
1987 - Minnesota State Sculpture competition, Silver Medal  
1989 - International Sculpture Center, Johnson sculpture competition, 1st Place in 5 day live model figure sculpture competition  
1990 - Smithsonian National Gallery “Guest Artist in Residence”  
1992 - Uffizi Gallery, 6 month sculpture study, Florence Italy  
1995 - Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, Award of Merit, Abraham Lincoln Dual Portraits, Lincoln Library  
2008 - Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Medallion  
2008 – US Presidential Inaugural Medal finalist
Selected Commissions   Commissions  
1979 – 2009 - 119 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1979 – 2009 - 119      end_of_the_skype_highlighting Portrait bust commissions sculpted  
1996 - Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield Illinois  
1997 - Lincoln Museum, Fort Wayne Indiana  
1998 - Lincoln Library, Springfield Illinois  
1999 - Tennessee College of Law, Knoxville Tennessee  
2008 - Airline Pilots Memorial
Group Exhibitions   Associations  
National Sculpture Society, Associate Member  
American Medallic Sculpture Association  
Portrait Society of America  
Abraham Lincoln Association and Lincoln Forum
Solo Exhibitions   What is a portrait Sculpture?  
A portrait is far more than a photographic likeness. For a portrait to be successful it must capture the spirit of the subject. A portrait can be a bust, a full figure, or a relief of any part of the body as long as it fulfills the requirement of giving the viewer a glimpse through the artist’s eyes into the soul and personality of the subject. No two artists will create the same work of art even if the subject is the same. When we admire a work of art we are really seeing and appreciating the subject through the eyes and sensibilities of the artist. This is especially true of a portrait; it is essential that the artist be familiar with the subject in order to capture that sensitivity. In the creation of a portrait, an artist will subconsciously and consciously reinterpret the subject and in that process will include as well as exclude the forms, composition, and details that hopefully achieve the goal of capturing a spirit. A successful portrait therefore represents the subject’s likeness and spirit as well as the unique vision of the artist.
Artist's Statement   Representative Portrait Prices  
Life size bronze portrait bust 15,000 GBP / $21,500 USD.  
Life size bronze full figure 60,000 GPB / $87,000 USD.  
Travel for a sitting 500 GBP a day plus expenses.  
Professional Skills and Services:  
Portrait sculpture in classic bust, figure, relief, or medallion.  
Sculpture in bronze, terra cotta, cast marble, cast linen paper.  
Subjects of contemporary, historical, and posthumous portraits.  
Reference from live sittings, photographic, and historical research  
Monumental Services:  
Monumental sculpture and portraits of any size.  
Project management in research, design, and installation.  
Monumental bids upon request through this agency.

Statement      Before I begin with a new portrait sculpture, I prefer to visit with my client in person for a live sitting. During this sitting, I will make a plaster face mask for bone structure reference, take numerous photographs, make sketches and measurements, and most importantly try to learn as much as possible about the client’s history and personality. To this end, I am happy to travel any where in the world.  
In the event that the subject is not available for a sitting, I am experienced in sculpting from photographs alone. Essential to a successful sculpture using this technique is the availability of a large number of photographs of the subject taken from various angles.  
The length of calender time required for the completion of a portrait sculpture commission is normally 6 months. During the first three months of this period, I will expect to spend approximately 150 hours of artistic labor on the actual portrait bust sculpture in clay. A better sculpture will always be created if the process is not rushed and sufficient time is allowed between sculpting sessions to allow the sculpture to naturally take on its own life; three months seems to work well.  
After the clay sculpture is complete, the client will be sent photographs for approval. The portrait sculpture will then be consigned to a bronze foundry, which will take an average of 3 months to cast the bronze. During the casting phase, I will spend approximately 40 hours of supervision for the mold making, casting, finishing, and shipping. The total time required from start to delivery is fairly standard at 6 months.  
Portrait sculptures are also available in other materials such as Terra-Cotta.


Travel nationally    Yes
Travel internationally    Yes
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Portrait Format:
Half LengthFrom £ 15000 $21500
Full LengthFrom £ 60000 $87000
The Prices quoted are for the standard mediums of oil on canvas and bronze
(in the case of sculpture).
For other media, prices may vary, please enquire directly with us for more specific quotes.
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Press Quotes
Recommendation letter from Rosetta, who is a highly respected wildlife monumental sculptor.  
February 2009  
To Whom it may concern:  
This letter is to serve as my highest recommendation of James J. Nance as an excellent portrait sculptor and professional sculpture designer for public and private commissions.  
As a professional sculptor with numerous commissions and awards to my credit, I have been aware of and impressed with Mr. Nance's portrait sculpture for about 12 years now. One of the things that impresses me the most, along with his uncanny ability to capture not only a likeness but also a feeling of life in his portraits, is the amount of research he conducts and his adherence to the strictest authenticity.  
Living and working in Loveland, Colorado, which has what we consider to be the premier bronze casting community in the country, Mr. Nance has access to skilled professionals in every aspect of the bronze casting process, from miniatures to monuments. He has an excellent working relationship with all of the casting professionals and, though he has a through knowledge of and experience with the process, he can be confident that someone here will be able to solve any conceivable technical challenge that might arise during any particular project.  
As one with very high standards concerning the production of bronze sculpture, I would have complete confidence in James J. Nance to fulfill any portrait sculpture commission with professionalism and exceptional artistic sensitivity.