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.





Chairman Portrait Artist Society Medal
  • Judge, 2018 Indiana Plein Air Painters (IPAPA) Member Show, Hoosier Salon Gallery, Carmel, IN, November 2018

  • Mentor and Facilitator, 2018 Artist Fall Retreat, T.C. Steele Boyhood Home Waveland, IN, October 2018

  • Judge, National Art Exhibition, Visual Arts Center, Punta Gorda, FL, February 2014

  • Portrait of Natalie Portman as Padme Amidala published in Star Wars Art: Visions, November 2010

  • Phil Desind Award for Most Outstanding Representational Painting, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH, Summer 2009

  • Judge, Portraits in Michigan, Sage Center, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI, September 2009

  • Honor for Outstanding Accomplishment, State of Ohio Senate 127th General Assembly, Columbus, OH, 2008

  • Gallery of Achievers, Erie County Chamber of Commerce, Sandusky, OH, 2008

  • Who’s Who in America, 2005 to present

  • Chairman of the Governing Board, American Society of Portrait Artists, October 2002 - 2005

  • Portrait of the Artist's Infant Daughter, The Collector, Portrait Study of the Artist's Wife and several additional portrait studies featured in the movie Artworks, (2003 Arté Films)

  • Vice Chairman of the Governing Board, American Society of Portrait Artists, June 2001 - 2002

  • International Advisory Board, American Society of Portrait Artists, July 2000 - 2005

  • Judge, International Portrait Competition, ASOPA 2002 Portrait Arts Festival, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, May 2002

  • Signature Artist, American Diabetes Association Celebrity Art Gala, Cincinnati, OH, March 2002

  • Head Judge, International Portrait Competition, ASOPA 2001 Portrait Arts Festival, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York, June 2001

  • Expert Commentator for the first random access Masterpiece Audio Guide of the Cincinnati Art Museum's permanent collection, January 2001

  • Expert Commentator for a random access audio guide of the traveling exhibit Masterpieces from Victoria, Australia, September 2000

  • First artist to be filmed painting a live portrait demonstration at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, June 2000

  • Distinguished Guest of Honor, American Society of Portrait Artists 2000 Portrait Arts Festival, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, June 2000

  • Portrait Institute Award for Distinguished Achievement in Portrait Painting, The National Portrait Competition, New York, NY, October 1996

  • Artist Cultural Exchange, The OBEH Cultural Center and The Surikov Institute of Moscow Russian-American Cultural Exchange, one of five American artists invited to Moscow, Russia, to tour, paint and exhibit with Russian artists, Fall 1996

  • The Artist's Magazine Award, Cincinnati Art Club Viewpoint, November 1995

  • Who's Who in American Art, 1995 to present

  • Guest Artist, Plein Air Painters of America, Santa Catalina Island, CA, October 1995

  • Assistant Director, Atelier of Plein-Air Studies, Safety Harbor, Florida, 1993-1997

  • Grand Prize, The John Howard Sanden Award for Excellence in Portrait Painting, The National Portrait Competition, Atlanta, GA, May 1993






  • 2015-2017 - Portrait of Natalie Portman as Padme Resplendent With Naboo Mandala, Star Wars Visions, Tokyo, Osaka and Okayama, Japan

  • 2014-2018 - Greenacres Artists Guild Annual Show, Cincinnati, OH

  • 2016 - Painters of Interest, Cincinnati Art Galleries, LLC, Cincinnati, OH

  • 2014 - Panorama of Cincinnati Art XXIX, Cincinnati Art Galleries, LLC, Cincinnati, OH

  • 2011 - 100 Years of Cincinnati Art (honoring Louise Nippert), Greenacres Foundation, Cincinnati, OH

  • 2010 - NUDE 2010, Lexington Art League, Loudoun House, Lexington, KY

  • 2009 - Midyear Exhibition, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH

  • 2009 - ArtPrize One, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, MI

  • 2006 - Portrait Miniatures Exhibition, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH

  • 2005 - Three Artist Exhibition, Indiana University, South Bend, IN 

  • 2005 - Eight Temperaments Group Exhibition, University Club, Cincinnati, OH 

  • 2004 - America Seen - Group Exhibit of America’s Finest Realist Painters, Hillsdale, MI 

  • 2002 - Visages & Vistas, Solo Exhibition, Sage Center for the Arts, Hillsdale, MI

  • 2001 - Panorama of Cincinnati Art XV, Cincinnati Art Galleries, Cincinnati, OH

  • 2001 - American Society of Classical Realism Guild of Artists, Newington-Cropsey Foundation Gallery of Art, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY       

  • 1998 - Historic Art Clubs, Midland Center for the Arts, Midland, MI 

  • 1998 - XII Panorama of Cincinnati Art, Cincinnati Art Galleries, Cincinnati, OH 

  • 1997 - Figural Works, Sandusky Cultural Center, Sandusky, OH

  • 1996 - Nude 1996, Lexington Art League, Lexington, KY

  • 1996 - Award-Winning Portraits, The Portrait Institute, New York, NY 

  • 1996 - American-Russian Plein-Air Art Exhibition, Kolomna, Russia

  • 1996 - The Legacy Lives, Lever House Gallery, New York, NY

  • 1996 - Figure 8 Exhibition, Carnegie Art Center, Covington, KY 

  • 1996 - American Society of Classical Realism Juried Exhibit, The Guild of Boston Artists, Boston, MA; Uihlein Peters Gallery, Milwaukee, WI; ASCR Atrium Gallery, Minneapolis, MN

  • 1996 - Solo Exhibition, The Town Club, Cincinnati, OH  

  • 1995 - Plein-Air Painters of America Catalina Show, Santa Catalina Island, CA  

  • 1995 - Solo Exhibition, Cincinnati Art Galleries, Cincinnati, OH 

  • 1994 - Akron Society of Artists' Grand Exhibition, Akron, OH 

  • 1994 - Art on the Square, Juried Invitational & Independents Salon, Cincinnati, OH

  • 1993 - Grand Prize Winner Portrait of Elizabeth, Portraits, Inc., New York, NY







  • David S. Taylor, Chairman of the Board, President & Chief Executive Officer, Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, OH

  • Honorable David A. Nelson, US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Cincinnati, OH

  • E. W. Scripps Founders and Past and Present Board Members: Bill Burleigh, Ed Estlow, Jack Howard, Roy Howard and Larry Leser; Cincinnati, OH, Denver, CO

  • Nancy L. Zimpher, President, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

  • George Schaefer, CEO, Fifth-Third Bancorp, Cincinnati, OH

  • Cincinnati Financial Corporation Board: Robert Morgan, John J. Schiff, Sr., John J. Schiff, Jr., Harry M. Turner and Pete Alpaugh; Fairfield, OH 

  • William J. Keating, Chairman, Board of Trustees, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

  • Richard Farmer, Cintas CEO, Farmer Collection, Cincinnati, OH

  • J. Ralph and Patricia Corbett, Cincinnati Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH

  • Virginia and Olive Kettering, Kettering Medical Center, Kettering, OH

  • Gilbert and Charles Dater, The Dater Foundation, Cincinnati, OH

  • James deBlasis, Artistic Director Cincinnati Opera, Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH

  • Charles Goering, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN

  • State Senator Theodore Gray, Ohio State House, Columbus, OH

  • Donald P. Klekamp, Keating, Muething & Klekamp, PLL, Cincinnati, OH

  • Dr. John J. Hutton, Dean UC College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH

  • Harry Wilks, Founder & Director Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Hamilton, OH

  • Benjamin & Dee Gettler, The Gettler Foundation, Cincinnati, OH

  • Raj and Indu Soin, Indu and Raj Soin Medical Center, Beaver Creek, OH

  • James Kingsbury, George Strike, UC Health CEOs, Cincinnati, OH

  • Honorable John D. Holschuh, US Federal District Court, Columbus, OH

  • J. Mack Swigert, Taft-Hartley Act author, Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Cincinnati, OH 

  • Dr. Joseph A. Steger, President Emeritus, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH





  • George Lucas, Lucasfilm Ltd., Los Angeles, CA

  • Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, OH

  • Ohio State House, Columbus, OH

  • Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH

  • E.W. Scripps Co., Cincinnati, OH, Denver, CO

  • Federal District Court, Columbus, OH

  • The Gettler Foundation, Cincinnati, OH

  • Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN

  • Jewish Community Federation, Cleveland, OH

  • University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

  • Indu and Raj Soin Medical Center, Beaver Creek, OH

  • Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum, Hamilton, OH

  • Fifth-Third Bancorp, Cincinnati, OH

  • U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Cincinnati, OH

  • Private collectors in:

    • Cincinnati, OH

    • New York City, NY

    • Chicago, IL

    • Denver, CO

    • Dallas, TX

    • Minneapolis, MN

    • St. Louis, MO

    • Atlanta, GA

    • Cleveland, OH

    • Huntington, WV

    • Northport, MI

    • Cookeville, TN

    • Stafford, VA

    • Essex Fells, NJ

    • Lexington, KY

    • Las Vegas NV

    • Tucson, AZ

    • Indianapolis, IN

    • Portland, OR



  • Estate of Luciano Pavarotti, Modena, Italy

  • Her Royal Highness Princess Jawaher Bint Majed Bin Abdul Aziz, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia 

  • Carlos R. Auberts, San Jose, Costa Rica 

  • Ronald Redman, Jakarta, Indonesia 

  • Lynda Tandanand, Bangkok, Thailand 

  • Dr. Wendy Graham, North Bay, Ontario, Canada 





"... the portrait you just completed is absolutely superb. I could not reasonably have hoped for anything so good, and my family and I are absolutely delighted... (We) are deeply grateful to you for executing the commission with such consummate skill."

David A. Nelson (1932-2010)
United States Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit


"It has been our distinct pleasure to work with Carl Samson over the past year in the planning and creation of the executive portrait of Mr. David Taylor, our Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer.

Carl is an incredibly accomplished and talented artist ... The portrait of Mr. Taylor wonderfully captures his likeness, but even more importantly, his character and unique personality.

Throughout the process Carl was a great collaborator and adaptable to our sometimes changing needs, especially regarding time sensitivities to executive schedules. ... We fully tested Carl’s skills and adaptability by requesting a change to the portrait a mere day before the official unveiling, which he unflinchingly executed with beautiful results.

P&G is very fortunate to have worked with such a recognized artist and wonderful human being."


Phil Duncan
Chief Global Design Officer
The Procter & Gamble Company

Greg McCoy
Senior Archivist
The Procter & Gamble Company

“Everyone who has seen the portrait remarks about your incredible talent. I shall always be indebted to you for capturing on canvas what I like to believe represents me at the zenith of my life.” 

The Honorable John D. Holschuh (1926-2011)
United States District Judge for the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio

“Mr. Samson’s work is exciting and invites the viewer to engage. And his credentials are impeccable.”

Ingrid Carroll
Ninth Biennial National Art Exhibition Co-Chair
Visual Arts Center of Punta Gorda

"Thank you for the fabulous job you did on the CFC portraits. We have had so many compliments from associates and visitors on these paintings that I just wanted you to know how much we appreciate the extra effort you put forth on this project... Thanks, again, for all your assistance."

Robert B. Morgan
CEO, The Cincinnati Insurance Companies


"Unlike many things in life these days, that we built up beyond reality — the portrait is better than I could have possibly imagined. You are a masterfully gifted artist. "

Dan Rader
Moore, Rader, Fitzpatrick and York, P.C.


"Thanks for a wonderful work of art!"

Joe Steger
President Emeritus, University of Cincinnati


"It has been a pleasure to meet you and to sit for your handsome portrait. Those who saw it, have been very complimentary. The ultimate tribute, however, is that the members of my family like the painting."

J. Mack Swigert (1908-2011)
Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP


"Powerful portrait painting!"

John Howard Sanden
Founder, The Portrait Institute

"Mr. Samson ... is the reigning national champion in the portrait profession."

Owen Findsen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

“Carl Samson’s superb portraits, (are) reminiscent of Sargent”

Mary McCarty
Cincinnati Magazine




A big believer in giving back, Carl has helped many organizations over the years, from sharing his knowledge of the visual arts with at-risk children in Artsy Fartsy Saturdays to consulting with non-profits regarding artistic outreach opportunities to painting a portrait of a child with a cranio-facial condition for Portrait of a Soul.

Carl is also a founding member of the Valley View Foundation Nature Preserve in Milford, Ohio, past consultant for the Frank Duveneck House and adviser/founder of the Greenacres Artist Guild for Louise Nippert’s Greenacres Foundation.