Chet Reneson has been named Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s 2023 Artist of the Year. Reneson was previously recognized with the honor in 2018. His painting Too Hot to Handle will be sold by Copley Fine Art Auctions in Plymouth, MA on February 24 and 25, 2023, with a preview in Charleston, SC for SEWE February 17-19, 2023. Each year since 2011, Copley Fine Art Auctions has sold a new work by BTT’s Artist of the Year to benefit the organization.
An avid hunter and angler since boyhood, Reneson was born in 1934 and grew up on a farm in Colchester, Connecticut. He went on to study art at the University of Hartford, graduating in 1960. His art teacher, Henrik Mayer, emphasized the importance of simplicity and taught the values of light, dark, and strong, which laid the foundation for Reneson’s unmistakable style. His illustrious career began with the sale of a painting at the Crossroads of Sport, Inc. in New York in 1965. Reneson’s formal training, natural talent, and extensive outdoor experience established him as one of the premier sporting artists.
“We are really pleased to have Chet Reneson as our Artist of the Year for a second time,” said Bill Legg, who chairs the Artist of the Year Selection Committee. “I, more so than most, because the first piece of sporting art that I purchased (circa 1971) was a Reneson watercolor of a flock of blue bills tolling in on one of his classic wind driven, cold snowy days. I am now the proud owner of several Renesons, both duck hunting and flats fishing. Chet, thank you for supporting BTT.”
For the past 50 years, Reneson’s painting has remained true to his early mentor’s teaching, encompassing many subjects including wildlife, duck hunting, upland bird shooting, big game fishing, fly fishing, and Bahamian scenes. His work has graced the covers of Sporting Classics, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and Sports Afield, among others. He was named Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year in 1982 and the Atlantic Salmon Federation Artist of the Year in 1982 and 2001. Additionally, he is a past member of the Connecticut Watercolor Association and the Old Lyme Art Association. Two books have been published on Reneson’s work: Shadow on the Flats and The Watercolors of Chet Reneson.