Born in Key Largo Florida in 1953, Marc grew up in a family of artists, musicians and stage professionals and began his career in fine art painting at age 18. His mother, Geneva, was a dancer and Powers Girl model in New York, and his father, Roman, was a Russian-born and trained muralist, figurative painter and portrait artist. In 1958, Marc’s family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where his father and uncle, Constantin Chatov (also a portrait painter and trained concert pianist), founded the Chatov Studio. Growing up amid the rich culture of his family’s art atelier, Marc was exposed to the academic principles of art and to professionals in the art world, witnessing from an early age how they translated the world onto canvas. When he wasn’t drawing pictures for his own enjoyment, he was typically found sitting for his father Roman, whose passion for painting was all consuming. As a teenager, Marc studied painting under the tutelage of both his father and uncle at the Chatov Studio.
Marc attended Georgia State University as a fine art major where he studied drawing under the late James Sitton who was acclaimed for his drawing and art anatomy instruction. Marc also studied at the Art Students League of New York under Michael Burban and Nelson Shanks. A devout romantic with a passion for traditional realism and the academic principles of fine art painting, Marc began an intense, full-time apprenticeship with his father and uncle in his early twenties. Another longtime mentor and close friend was Albert Handell, a skilled and legendary fine art painter.
Throughout his life, Marc has been an avid student of art history and has adopted the philosophy of American painter Robert Henri, who wrote, “The object isn’t to make art, it is to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” Marc found great inspiration from his constant exposure to art at home and during his travels to France, Russia, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Greece, Cuba and Mexico where he studied and observed the works of historical masters including Velázquez, Repin, Sorolla and Sargent. From these creative influences, Marc achieved his distinctive style and mastery of brush and pigment that make him renowned in his field.
Today, Marc is regarded as a leading contemporary portrait painter. He has been featured as one of the top eight portrait artists in America in Money magazine and is represented by Portraits, Inc. and Portraits South. Marc is a member of, and exhibits with, prestigious art organizations including the Salmagundi Club of New York and Oil Painters of America. Additionally, he is an Advisory Board Member with the Portrait Society of Atlanta.
Throughout his career, Marc has painted over 250 commissioned portraits for families, organizations and institutions. His fine art paintings and portraits hang in over 450 public and private collections in the United States, Mexico and abroad including the Georgia State Capital, Emory Hospital, University of Georgia, University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, King & Spalding, the Lovett School, Woodruff Family, Turner-Seydel Family and the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame inductee - Dr. Ferrol Sams. Marc’s paintings are frequently published in magazines and newspapers including American Art Collector, Fine Art Connoisseur, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Art & Antiques and Southern Accents. Marc was the recipient of the Governor’s Artist of Excellence Award and has won awards at both the Portrait Society of America and Oil Painters of America.
Marc is also a well-known and popular instructor. He honed his teaching skills as an assistant to Roman and Constantin in the Chatov Studio and gradually took over their classes in 1984. Today it stands as the longest running art atelier in Atlanta. Despite his busy portrait schedule and being in demand for gallery easel works, Marc regularly conducts classes, workshops and lectures. He cherishes the opportunity to work with fellow artists—as much as Marc imparts on them, his pupils also keep him thinking and growing.
Marc’s students, collectors and viewers are most impressed with the exquisite colors and brushwork that makes his portraits and easel works so distinctive. The luminous skin tones and palpable textures that characterize his paintings are reinforced by his strong knowledge of drawing and anatomy, but it is his ability to capture the spirit of his subject, an ineffable humanity rendered in paint, which moves the viewer. Recalling the wisdom imparted to him by his father, Marc often quotes Roman’s favorite truism, “In art, first one becomes a master, then an artist, and finally, a student.”
Marc, Roman and Constantin Chatov’s works have been exhibited at the following museums and galleries:
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
Salmagundi Club of New York, NY
Mobile Museum, Mobile, AL
ABS Gallery, Dusseldorf, Germany
Museum of Arts & Sciences, Macon, GA
Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA
Marietta Cobb Museum of Arts, Marietta, GA
Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN
Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.CB
Bennington Center for the Arts, Bennington, VT
Georgia Council for the Arts, Georgia State Capitol