Life With Ferris: Alan Shuptrine Travels To Florence To Share His Art

  • Monday, September 12, 2022
  • Ferris Robinson
Bonny and Alan Shuptrine in the air on their way to Florence, Italy
Bonny and Alan Shuptrine in the air on their way to Florence, Italy

It is an honor for an artist of any stature to be invited to exhibit their work in a gallery, whether that venue is local, known statewide, or acclaimed worldwide. Alan Shuptrine can claim all of the above accolades, and his skill and talent as an artist is remarkable. For over 35 years, Mr. Shuptrine has honed and perfected his craft through countless hours of hands-on experience. His mastery in gold leaf appears in every aspect of his work - from a dogwood blossom etched into a large gilded panel to delicate designs carved into a fine art frame.

Sought after for his expertise in the decorative arts, Mr. Shuptrine has provided handcrafted, custom water gilded fine art frames, restorations, and conservation of gilded period pieces throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. His work can be found in both the Georgia and South Carolina Governor’s Mansions, Natchez National Historical Park homes, the Atlanta History Center and the corresponding Philip T. Schutze Swan House, as well as many other galleries, historical institutions and museums and both corporate and private collections. In 2005, he was chosen to provide restorations for the entire permanent collection of frames and gilded artifacts in the New Orleans Museum of Art following Hurricane Katrina. 

Nationally renowned for years if not decades, Alan Shuptrine, is headed to a place known as the mecca of world-famous masterpieces: Florence, Italy. The birthplace of the Renaissance, this city holds its art in high regard and is home to Michelangelo’s “David,” Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus,” and Vasari’s “Last Judgment.” 

Mr. Shuptrine is invited to exhibit his 22kt gold leaf, water gilded art panels at the Florence Academy of Art throughout September. The panels are exquisitely decorated with genuine gold leaf and etched with the centuries-old technique of sgraffito, a form of decoration made by scratching through a surface to reveal a lower layer of a contrasting color, typically done in plaster or stucco on walls.

Concurrent with the exhibition, Mr. Shuptrine will teach a master class in water gilding with genuine gold leaf. This rare opportunity is open not only open to students of the Academy, but also to anyone interested in learning this lost art. Held in a city with some of the most beautiful and artfully gilded frames in the world, the workshop will include a tour, led by Mr. Shuptrine, through the nearby Uffizi Gallery. Students will be able to experience the historical beauty of gold leaf as they learn from the past and utilize the same methods perfected by the master centuries prior. In case you are abroad and near Florence, the class dates are Sept. 12-16.  For more information, email

It is quite the feather in an artist’s cap to be given the nod by this city, but how to describe the honor it would be to be asked to instruct other artists on your craft?

“As you know, I love to teach, and to get an opportunity to teach the Old World craft that gave me my start in the art business 37 years ago is priceless. And then when you consider that it’s Florence, Italy - the gold leaf capital of the world (in my opinion), you can understand why I’m ecstatic!” Alan said.

Florence, Italy can add this American master artist to its list.

* * *

Ferris Robinson is the author of three children’s books, “The Queen Who Banished Bugs,” “The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds,” and “Call Me Arthropod” in her pollinator series. “Making Arrangements” is her first novel. “Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity” is a collection of true tales about man’s best friend. Her website is and you can download a free pollinator poster there. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.

Ferris Robinson
Ferris Robinson
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