photo by David Butler
David Brega is recognized today as one of the country’s foremost contemporary painters of still life. Throughout his forty-year career, he has carved out a specialty in trompe l'oeil – a branch of still life painting which mimics reality so cleverly that the viewer is fooled into thinking he is looking at real objects and not an actual painting. Brega is considered by many to be one of the best practitioners working in this genre today.
David was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on Christmas Day, 1948 five minutes after his identical twin brother Douglas. Together with their older brother Stephen, and younger sister Kathy, they grew up in the neighboring town of East Longmeadow.
David attended the Paier College of Art in Hamden, Connecticut and both the San Francisco Art Institute and the Los Angeles Trade Technical College in California.
It was at Paier College of Art where David met the pivotal figure in his career, Ken Davies; premier trompe l’oeil and still life painter of the twentieth century. Under the tutelage of Ken Davies, David honed his skills as a technician and draftsman and most importantly found his niche as a painter. In a 1986 interview with Anita Shreve for Connoisseur Magazine, Ken Davies named David Brega as his most successful student.
David’s first solo exhibition in New York was held at the Alexander Gallery on Madison Avenue in 1986. This exhibition, “Trompe l’oeil: The Provocative Language of Illusion,” sold out within fifteen minutes of its opening, catapulting David into one of the largest collections of american art in the world, the Manoogian Collection. A second solo show followed in 1991 titled, “Please Do Not Touch.”
In 2000, the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts mounted a twenty-five year retrospective exhibition of David’s work, together with the watercolors of his brother, Douglas. The retrospective, titled “Oil and Water,” traveled to the Albreecht-Kemper Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri in 2001. In 2003 Vose Galleries of Boston hosted a solo show for David titled “Eyeful.”
David has since been represented in more than fifty group shows across the country and abroad. His work is in permanent collections at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri and the Abrecht-Kemper Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri as well as the Williamson Art Museum in Liverpool, England.
David resides on the South Shore of Boston where he has maintained a Studio for the past 36 Years.