American Artist David Bowers: A Modern Outlook on Classic Sensual Oeuvres
08 november 2021 
27 min. read

American Artist David Bowers: A Modern Outlook on Classic Sensual Oeuvres

The artist, whose name sounds almost like "David Bowie," is a praised American painter and illustrator. He's accomplished covers of over a hundred books and is honored with numerous awards. Among his works, there are covers of Time and other prominent magazines. His portrait of J. P. Morgan can be seen on the cover of Cigar Aficionado. The depiction of the Rothschild family graces the cover of Wine Spectator.

As Bowers states, "My work has evolved through the years from fantasy art, surrealism, conceptual and narrative painting all blended together with a style reminiscent of the Old Masters, especially the Dutch painters. I often describe my work as "Realism with an Edge." I will continue my pursuit of trying to do the perfect painting…"

David Bowers The Observer

Fig. 1. The Observer (self portrait), 25 x 18 1/2, oil on masonite, 2011 (

 Cigar Aficionado cover by David Bowers

Fig. 2. Cigar Aficionado cover by David Bowers (

 Wine Spectator cover by David Bowers

Fig. 3. Wine Spectator cover by David Bowers (

David Bowers Alice in Wonderland

Fig. 4. Alice in Wonderland, 24 x 18, oil on Dibond panel. PS Look at Grumpy Cat! (

David Michael Bowers was born in 1956 in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, and graduated from art school in Pittsburgh in 1979. Already two years later, he began teaching at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He lectured there for ten years and received an honor as the Keynote Speaker for the Class of 2003. Since 1991, Bowers started working with New York City publishers as an illustrator. In this field, Bowers received many awards like three Joseph Morgan Henniger Awards, "Best of Show" from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles along with two Patrick Nagel awards. He also received medals and Merit awards from the Society of Illustrators in New York, Spectrum's Best of Fantastic Art and Communications Arts Magazine.

In 2004, Bowers gave up his prosperous illustration career to devote himself to fine art. Now he works only with his own fantasy, not depending on a publisher's copy. His paintings are included in many private collections and exhibited in lots of European and American museums: Museum of American Illustration in New York and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, Klaudia Marr Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Halcyon Gallery, London; Galerie 224, Laguna Beach, CA; and the James Gallery, Pittsburgh. The book, David Michael Bowers, The Evolution of an Artist, was published in 2007 by Robert J. Trombetta.

David Bowers Leda with her kids and the swan

Fig. 5.  Leda with her kids and the swan (

David Bowers Flirt with Death

Fig. 6. Flirt with Death (

 David Bowers Mother Nature

Fig. 7. Mother Nature (

David Bowers Venus and the rabbits

Fig. 8. Venus and the rabbits (

David Bowers Unspoiled (ps we knew it was a mouse!)

Fig. 9. Unspoiled (ps we knew it was a mouse!),

David Bowers Safe Sex

Fig. 10. Safe Sex (

David Bowers Heart Throb

Fig. 11. Heart Throb (

Girls N’ Roses by David Bowers

Fig. 12. Girls N’ Roses, 16 x 20, oil on Belgian linen (

David Bowers Venus Against the Wind,

Fig. 13. Venus Against the Wind, 20 x 18, oil on linen (

David Bowers The Laugh

Fig. 14. The Laugh, 22 1/2 x 16 1/2 oil on wood (

David Bowers Listen

Fig. 15. Listen, 24 x 18, oil on panel (

The Shell Man, it’s a dangerous world David Bowers

Fig. 16. The Shell Man, it’s a dangerous world, 20 x 16, oil on panel (

Thinking of Adam David Bowers

Fig. 17. Thinking of Adam, 8 x 10, oil on linen mounted to panel (

Blondes Have More Fun by David Bowers

Fig. 18. Blondes Have More Fun 38 x 34 oil on linen 2011 (

Finding the Gold II by David Bowers

Fig. 19. Finding the Gold II, 32 x 24, oil on Belgian linen (

Bust My Bubble by David Bowers

Fig. 20. Bust My Bubble (

Bowers considers the idea as the most challenging part of the painting, so there's always a symbolic message in his works. According to the artist, "I'm so indebted to the paintings of the great Old Masters of the past. The inspiration that I receive from viewing their work, makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I have to admit that very few modern artists give me that kind of sensation. It has been out of vogue for quite some time in the art world for a painting to be beautifully drawn, composed, and painted. So, I guess that makes me a rebel and every other artist out there working hard trying to achieve the beauty and grace of the Old Masters. I will spend the rest of my life in pursuit of those lofty ideals set forth by the great ones of the past. Making my paintings and striving for perfection in them, is what motivates me the most. My next painting will always be my best. At least that is what I hope to achieve." (

David Bowers American Artist

Fig. 21.

The Amazing Race by David Bowers

Fig. 22. The Amazing Race (

 The Unresponsive Audience

Fig. 23. The Unresponsive Audience (

After the Bath by David Bowers

Fig. 24. After the Bath, 36 x 36, oil on linen (

The Girl in the Blue Kimono I by avid Bowers

Fig. 25. The Girl in the Blue Kimono I (

Devoting himself to art, Bowers creates his works carefully and slowly, day by day. In his pictures, you can see reinterpretations of different masters such as Botticelli (fig. 13), Edvard Munch (fig. 14), Felix Labisse (fig. 15), and Giuseppe Arcimboldo with his famous Four Seasons (fig. 16). Bower's attention is drawn to classic plots like Leda and the swan. The artist blends different times depicting the high towers of a modern city in the background. One of the recurring motifs is a woman with a pig originating from Pornocrates (1878) by Felicien Rops. Interestingly, Rops didn't put an accent on the trotters of the pig as well as on the heels of the woman. David Bowers depicts heels and trotters in such a manner that they look quite similar (fig. 31).

Felicien Rops Pornocrates

Fig. 26. Felicien Rops Pornocrates (1878),

David Bowers female with pig

Fig. 27.

Charge by David Bowers

Fig. 28. Charge (

Heading To Town by David Bowers

Fig. 29. Heading To Town, 20 x 16, oil on masonite (

Pig Walker II  by David Bowers

Fig. 30. Pig Walker II (

Pig Walker III by David Bowers

Fig. 31. Pig Walker III (

Sources: official site; David Michael Bowers: Humanity Unveiled (; The amazing paintings of David Michael Bowers: “Realism with an Edge” (

Click HERE for an article on the outlandish voluptuousness of the digital pop surrealist Ray Caesar....!!

What do you think about the sensual realism of David Bowers? Leave your reaction in the comment box below...! 

About the author
Darya is a philologist who lives and works in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She is specialized in Russian literature.
Abdull F.

Abdull F.

on 09 Nov 2021

Very nice!  Thanks

Marijn Kruijff

Marijn Kruijff

on 09 Nov 2021

You're more than welcome Abdull!

Dan Sparks

Dan Sparks

on 09 Nov 2021

David Bowers is a new discovery for me. Thank you for that. His work is amazing, and challenging in the best sort of way. I appreciate Shunga Gallery as a one-of-a-kind resource.



on 10 Nov 2021

Thanks a lot Dan, we're pleased you enjoy our content. Much more to come...!

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