Christopher Semtner

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Quick Facts
Birth year
Lives in
Bon Air
Works in
Virginia Commonwealth University, 1997, BFA
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1998, Post Bac
Representing galleries
Visual Art Studio of Richmond
symbolism, Poe, surrealism, figurative
Semtner Bio

Chris Semtner is an internationally exhibited painter with works in several public and private collections including those of the City of Baltimore and the University of Maryland. He has served as author, co-author, or editor of eight books on Edgar Allan Poe and recently appeared in the BBC 4 documentary Edgar Allan Poe: Love, Death, and Women. He has curated museum exhibits on Poe in the comics, Poe’s mysterious death, the real women behind Poe’s poetry, and Poe in the movies. The New York Times called the exhibit he curated for the Library of Virginia, Poe: Man, Myth, or Monster, “provocative” and “a playful, robust exhibit.” Semtner’s paintings have entered numerous public and private collections, and his photography has appeared in The Washington Post, the Daily Telegraph, and many other publications.

Semtner’s delicately rendered, mostly small-scale acrylic paintings on wood present a dark, mysterious, and dangerous world in which people are victims of their own fears and desires. His work has affinities with the surreal worlds of such writers as Kafka or Poe, but Semtner’s beautifully lyrical works simultaneously call to mind such disparate visual sources as Art Nouveau, Dutch genre painting, and ‘sixties horror movie posters.