B.F.A., Michigan State University, 1971
M.F.A., University of Michigan, 1976
Twin passions govern my artistic life: to paint dignity and truth in the human face and form; and to record mystic beauty in unspoiled American landscapes. My artworks are an ode to natural light and color. I seek visual poetry in the commonplace and not just what is novel.
Sam Knecht is a versatile painter who has earned recognition for his works in oil, watercolor, and egg tempera. Inspired by past great American painters such as Wyeth, Sargent, and Eakins, Knecht focuses upon the subjects of portraiture and landscape painting. His portraits hang in collections of the Supreme Court of Michigan, Michigan State University, the United States District Court of Northern Ohio, and the campus of Hillsdale College. For his landscapes Knecht has painted in locations throughout Michigan and the Midwest, as well as northern Ontario, and Italy.
Knecht earned his MFA degree in painting from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Next he pursued post-graduate study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia. He joined the faculty at Hillsdale College in 1978. He chaired the Department of Art continuously from 1978 until 2013.
National honors include First Place/Watercolor in the 2009 Members Only Competition, Portrait Society of America. That award recognized his egg tempera painting titled “The Woodcutter.” Knecht paintings earned additional awards in Members Only competitions hosted by the Portrait Society in 2012, 2011, and 2009. His watercolor, “Amelia’s Quilt” was awarded Best in Show in the annual statewide competition hosted by the Michigan Water Color Society (1992).
In 2010 Knecht unveiled a large oil painting depicting the Signing of the American Constitution. The work immediately entered the permanent collection of the Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C. The painting was featured in an article on Knecht’s personal art studio appearing in American Artist Studios 20 magazine (2010). National juried exhibits that selected Knecht paintings include: Midyear Annual Exhibition, Butler Museum of American Art (2007); The Legacy Lives, Leverhouse Gallery, New York City (1996); and Romantic Realism, Grand Central Galleries, New York City (1992).