Reeve Schley was born in New York City. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Schley had his first solo show with James Graham & Sons in 1973. Schley is well known for his depictions of people at leisure. Picnics, tennis games, and sunbathers are common themes, as are landscapes executed on-the-spot at beaches and riversides. Schley’s new works feature scenes from Central Park in New York City, his farm in New Jersey and a lake in Murray Bay in Canada. His ephemeral oils and watercolors capture moments of serenity both in nature and amongst friends.
As Schley explains his painting process: “I start with observations about the fundamental elements of a subject and let those evolve without getting messed up. I allow the color to accumulate into limited shades without trying to offer a complete and exhaustive explanation of what I see. Once I’ve indicated what interested me – the weather, the people, the vegetation, the ocean – there’s no need to stuff the painting with more information. The viewers can fill that in by themselves.”
He teaches an outdoor painting class for the National Academy School of Fine Arts and raises cattle, the frequent subjects of his works on paper, on his Island Farm on the banks of the north branch of New Jersey’s Raritan River. His work is included in the collections of: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the National Academy of Design. Schley lives and works in Whitehouse, New Jersey.