Nicholas Reale

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Mending Nets in Nazare
Mending Nets in Nazare, an original watercolor painted by Nicholas Reale. This painting received the New Jersey Watercolor Society Silver Medal of Honor in 1971.

Nicholas Albert Reale (20 March 1922 - 18 November 1984) was a prominent American watercolorist with a lengthy career in art and teaching. Reale’s works have been exhibited throughout the United States and Canada, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[1] The recipient of more than 60 major awards, he is listed in Who's Who in American Art. His works are in the permanent collections of the National Academy of Design, Newark Museum NJ,[2] the Jersey City Museum, the University of Arizona, and Monmouth University.[1][3]

Born in Irvington, New Jersey, his parents emigrated from southern Italy in the early 20th century, and Reale attended Newark Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey,[4] where he eventually joined the faculty. He was directed to the Arts High School by a biology teacher in the public schools, who had noticed his exceptional sketches in the margins of his science assignments and encouraged him to transfer schools. Upon graduation Reale enrolled in the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.[4]

Reale served in the United States Navy for the entirety of World War II, returning to complete his degree. Upon graduation from Pratt he became a successful commercial artist in Manhattan, married Maria Padula, his wife of 35 years, and settled in Hillside, New Jersey, with summers in Belmar, New Jersey. They had three children who survive them: Nancy Reale Gifford-Humphreys, Aldo Reale, and Barbara Reale, and seven grandchildren.[4]

In 1968, Reale left the commercial art world and spent the rest of his life painting and teaching. He was an influential instructor in painting and graphic design, teaching at Seton Hall University,[5] the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts,[5] Somerset Art Association,[6] Princeton Art Association[7] , Summit Arts Center,[5] and Morris County Art Association.[7] He also led workshops nationally. Reale was an active associate member of the American Watercolor Society, a member of Allied Artists of America, of Audubon Artists[8] and the New Jersey Watercolor Society. The NJ Watercolor Society named him Artist of the Year in 1969.[3] In 1981 he was named an Associate National Academician by the National Academy.[9]

Reale’s work explored and overlapped several styles and palettes, with impressionistic and abstract styles predominant; seascapes were his forte. All of his known paintings have a small patch of bright red, which is usually the focal point of the composition; this became his trademark.[10] He was influenced by the work of French impressionist and cubist Georges Braque. Reale died suddenly and unexpectedly at age 62, during the opening days of a one-man exhibit at Gallery 9, Chatham, New Jersey.
Reale's work and teaching have influenced many artists, including Alice de Caprio,[11] the Aquamedia Group (ten women who were his students),[12] Beth Born,[13] Diana Patton,[14] Patricia Tindall[15][16] Sally Vaughan,[17] and Ellen Vreeland.[18]

The American Watercolor Society continues to present the Nicholas Reale Memorial Award in his honor[19][20]

Major awards[edit]

  • American Watercolor Society- The Arches Papers Award (1972); The High Winds Medal (1976), The Doris Olsen Klep Memorial Award (1981)
  • New Jersey Watercolor Society Silver Medal of Honor awarded in 1971 (for ‘Mending nets in Nazare’) and 1982 (for ‘Homage to Henry’) [21]
  • Grumbacher Award at the New Jersey Watercolor Society, 1981 (for "Warm Passage")[22]


  1. ^ a b Caplan, H.H. (2002).Biographical Encyclopedia of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers of the United States: Colonial to 2002. Dealers Choice Books. ISBN 0966852613.
  2. ^ "Modern Naples, 1957". n.d. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  3. ^ a b "Annual Art Show and Sale Planned By Somerset AAUW". Echoes-Sentinel (Warren Township, New Jersey). 1971-03-25. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  4. ^ a b c "Nicholas Reale, Noted Artist". Daily Record (Morristown). 1984-11-20. Retrieved 2018-01-04.
  5. ^ a b c "Nicholas Reale Joins Art Center Staff". Bernardsville News (Bernardsville, New Jersey). 1980-09-18. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  6. ^ "Somerset's Art Courses To Gain College Credit". Bernardsville News (Bernardsville, New Jersey). 1976-01-01. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  7. ^ a b "Watercolor Workshop Set at Gallery". The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey). 1977-03-03. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  8. ^ "Audubon Artists – Past Presidents and Notable Members". 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-07.
  9. ^ "National Academy Honors Nicholas Reale". Echoes-Sentinel (Warren Township, New Jersey). 1981-12-03. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  10. ^ "Reale watercolors on display". Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey). 1990-12-07. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
  11. ^ "De Caprio art on view". Madison-Florham Park Eagle (Madison, New Jersey). 1977-07-14. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  12. ^ "Aquamedia Group". The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey). 1992-11-22. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  13. ^ "Art Show Judges Are Selected". The Chatham Press (Chatham, New Jersey). 1973-10-11. Retrieved 2018-01-06.
  14. ^ "Watercolors by Diana Patton exhibited in Bernardsville". The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey). 1977-05-12. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  15. ^ "Watercolors to be shown". The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey). 1977-11-27. Retrieved 2017-12-27.
  16. ^ "Patricia Tryon "Pat" Tindall Obituary". 2010-10-31. Retrieved 2018-01-06.
  17. ^ "Yule Theme for Vaughan One-Man Show". The Chatham Press (Chatham, New Jersey). 1973-12-06. Retrieved 2018-01-06.
  18. ^ "Ellen H. Vreeland, Obituary". 2010-06-23. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  19. ^ Clark, Forrest (1985-01-14). "Watercolor wins $450 for Bridgewater artist". The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey). Retrieved 2018-01-04.
  20. ^ "Art People". The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey). 1986-01-10. Retrieved 2018-01-05.
  21. ^ "The New Jersey Watercolor Society - Silver Medal of Honor". 2015. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  22. ^ "Watercolors Shown At Morris Museum". Echoes-Sentinel (Warren Township, New Jersey). 1981-11-12. Retrieved 2018-01-11.