Born in 1961 of French-Canadian heritage, Carl Joseph Samson began his serious study of art at age fourteen with Allan R. Banks in Sandusky, OH. In 1979, he moved to Boston for a unique and rare opportunity to study under one of America’s finest painters and Boston School descendant R.H. Ives Gammell (1883-1981). Gammell is an acknowledged realist master who had trained in Paris at the Academie Julian and in Boston at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts under Edmund Tarbell, Joseph DeCamp, Philip Leslie Hale and William McGregor Paxton, progenitors of the Boston School. After Gammell's death in 1981, Carl moved to Minneapolis to continue his studies with Richard Lack, one of the most significant American realists of the second half of the 20th century. Next, Washington, D.C., and Europe became Carl's home as he researched and studied the old masters in some of the world's finest museums. Upon completing his studies, he returned to Ohio in 1986 and took up permanent residence in Cincinnati.
Carl is a repeat winner at the prestigious National Portrait Competition, seizing both the Grand Prize Sanden Award for Excellence in Portrait Painting and the Portrait Institute Award for Distinguished Achievement in Portrait Painting. He was one of five Americans invited to visit and paint with the Union of Russian Artists in Moscow, and has lectured and demonstrated painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as Distinguished Guest of Honor for the American Society of Portrait Artists (ASOPA). He served on ASOPA's International Advisory Board, as Vice-Chairman of their governing board, and then was unanimously elected Chairman of the American Society of Portrait Artists’ Governing Board.
Samson’s groundbreaking Triumph of Truth received The Phil Desind Award for most outstanding representational painting at the Butler Institute of American Art, and his Portrait of Natalie Portman as Padme Resplendent With Naboo Mandala (collection of George Lucas) was published in Star Wars Art: Visions. His work has been purchased by the Cincinnati Art Museum and has been the subject of numerous articles in a variety of media including American Artist, International Artist, The Artist's Magazine, and American Painting Video Magazine. A video of his one-hour long Metropolitan Museum of Art portrait demonstration was produced by the American Society of Portrait Artists Foundation. Samson's critical eye has been further recognized as judge of numerous international and national exhibitions and competitions. He’s given slide lectures and painting demonstrations to museums, colleges and art organizations, and been a guest artist at various art associations throughout the US. His expert observations on paintings by Rembrandt, Twachtman, Duveneck and Monet were recorded on two random access Masterpiece Audio Guides for the Cincinnati Art Museum.
Carl was a contributor to the Classical Realist Journal and author of several articles on portrait painting for The Artist's Magazine. He and wife Carol co-wrote an article on Herman Wessel's murals for the inaugural issue of the Salon America Journal. Carl is a full member of the Guild of the American Society of Classical Realism; advisor to and founding member of Greenacres Artist Guild, Louis and Louise Nippert Foundation; a past board member of the American Society of Portrait Artists, the Cincinnati Art Club and the Valley View Nature Preserve, and has advised the board of the Frank Duveneck House and Museum. Other memberships include the MacDowell Society. In addition, Samson is featured in Who's Who in American Art and Who's Who in America. Clients include director George Lucas, Procter & Gamble, E. W. Scripps and other businesses and corporations, universities, colleges and schools of learning, government, judicial, medical, legal and religious entities, clubs, foundations, arts organizations, museums and discerning collectors worldwide.
A Cincinnati resident since 1986, Carl works and exhibits in a historic 1887 Queen Anne house near the Cincinnati Art Museum that was once the home and studio of Herman and Bessie Wessel, students of artist Frank Duveneck. When not painting, Carl enjoys gardening and family life with his wife and twin daughters at their home outside of Cincinnati. He continues to welcome both public and private commissions.