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Biography | Resume | Publications


Sadie J. Valeri is an internationally recognized still life oil painter and art instructor. Trained first at the Rhode Island School of Design and later in Classical techniques with living masters of Contemporary Realism, she is devoted to the expression of her visual experience through time-honored techniques. Her meticulously crafted paintings depicting transparent, crumpled wax paper and tarnished and worn objects evoke the spirit of the Dutch Golden Age of still life painting, as seen through a contemporary aesthetic. In 2009 Sadie opened her studio to private students of painting and drawing. Sadie and her husband incorporated the art school in 2011, and together they run Sadie Valeri Atelier, which hosts art classes for 120 students per week at her 3,500 square foot studio in San Francisco.

Sadie’s evocative paintings have have attracted the highest honors, including the award of First Prize for Still Life in the 2010 ARC International Salon. Her work has also been featured in many prestigious art publications, including: American Art Collector, American Artist, International Artist, American Painting Video MagazineArtist’s Magazine, and Southwest Art. She is also a member of the Hudson River Fellowship.


Raised in Salem, Massachusetts, (b. 1971) Sadie J. Valeri graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration in 1993. For many years she enjoyed a successful career as a graphic designer and website/interface designer.

In 2006 Sadie returned to pursuing fine art exclusively, and very quickly attracted notice for her highly refined layered oil technique.

In pursuit of constantly improving her skills, Sadie has studied with several contemporary masters of realism, including Juliette Aristides, Michael Grimaldi, and Ted Seth Jacobs at Bay Area Classical Artist Atelier; Jacob Collins at the Hudson River Fellowship; and Timothy Stotz and Michelle Tully of Studio Escalier. Sadie also studied Écorché/Anatomy with Andrew Ameral. She studied traditional Flemish layered painting technique with Kirstine Reiner.

Travel has been fundamental to Sadie’s development as an artist ever since she lived in Paris for six months as an art student attending Parsons Paris in 1992. Since then she has traveled to Greece and Italy, in addition to many trips back to France. 

Since October 2006 Sadie has recorded every aspect of her artistic development on her blog. Here she invites you into the studio to share her ongoing study of painting and drawing.

In addition to her own blog, Sadie also co-founded, a website showcasing the work of living women figurative painters.

Sadie has taught graduate students at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and she now directs a private Classical Atelier in her San Francisco studio, offering drawing and painting workshops and classes. She lives in San Francisco’s Cole Valley neighborhood, with her husband, Nowell Valeri.

Click to see: Resume | Publications


Sadie is proud to be a member of these professional organizations:

Hudson River Fellowship

Portrait Society of America

Oil Painters of America


Comments from Students

“Sadie is well-versed in the subtleties of teaching and the cultivation of understanding.  My artistic abilities expanded significantly from her classes and I recommend them to anyone looking for top-notch education in classical realism, specifically; though the techniques you will learn from her will help you no matter what your artistic goals may be.”
- Todd A. 

“Sadie Valeri is one of the most inspiring teachers I have ever studied with. She is a consummate artist able to share her enthusiasm and process with students of all levels of achievement. Her studio is beautiful, light filled, and spacious. Classes are small amd everyone gets individual attention. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”
- Yvonne M.

“Thank you for all your great instruction, encouragement, and generously sharing your process. You pushed us to break through to higher levels of close observation and control of materials. It’s inspiring to have a teacher that freely admits that she herself has struggled, and continues to study and refine her art. Any pursuit worth doing is not easy, and I see why students, without the proper guidance in their development, will flounder and give up, thinking they’re not talented. I have the tools and the discipline now to continue to improve and mark my progress.” 
- Paul S.

“I have never experienced the Aha! moments with another teacher the way I have done in Sadie’s classes. Sadie is not only exquisitely talented, but able to teach to every level in a way that creates confidence and excitement. I have taken several workshops in her studio and plan to make it a regular part of my life.  A consummate artist and teacher,  in a dream atelier. I would not hesitate to give her classes the highest recommendation.”
- Audrey B

“Your passion and intensity in what you do and love are evident in what you teach.” 

“All of a sudden, all things I want to do suddenly converged on a pencil point!You gave me direction and book recommendations that now will last me for a year’s worth of self-study.” 

“The workshop was so inspiring and informative - you have a wonderful gift for teaching, besides your gift for painting.” 

“You were able to give us so many new thoughts, ideas and processes in such a short time. Not only informative - but so patient, pleasant and fun to be with - all in all a great experience.” 

“You are one of those people who is an amazing blend of outstanding artist and gifted teacher. Generous, kind,and knowledgeable, you are one of a kind! I have learned so much during these five days and I feel that my experience will create a life changing turn in my work.” 

“I had studied figure drawing with Anthony Ryder for several years before taking a class with Sadie, and I can say she has a similar high level quality of attention, care, generosity and seriousness as a teacher and fine artist. Bottom line, San Francisco is lucky to have her, and your time with her will be well worth it.” 
-David S.

Sadie’s instruction re: methods and materials is very precise and clearly communicated… she guides you through processes you would be very unlinkely to discover on your own - secrets she has discovered are revealed.


See more student comments on Sadie’s Yelp page



What is “Classical Realism”?

Classical Realism is the contemporary rebuilding of a legacy of art instruction which developed from the Renaissance ateliers up through the 19th century Academies, which was nearly lost in the anti-figurative philosophies of the 20th century.

A few teachers remain who can trace their lineage of teachers directly back to the 19th century Academies, and who retain and pass along the methods and knowledge of painting that were cultivated over a period of 500 years. Sadie has studied with several teachers who are a part of this lineage, and is committed to passing along this knowledge.

Classical Realism focuses on the slow, careful study of the human figure in long-pose sessions. Long-pose studies of the human figure as the basis of fine art education is in stark contrast to the “quick sketch” method which dominated Western art schools in the 20th century. Many Classical Realists also avoid using photographs as reference materials for paintings, and work solely from life.

Only in the last 10-15 years, mainly because of the Internet, students and teachers are finding each other, and a resurgence of classically trained artists, as well as collectors who value their skills, is emerging.

Teachers who have been trained in the classical tradition are opening ateliers, teaching studios where students can learn these traditional methods.

Classical Realists believe that the greatest teacher is Nature, or direct study from life. 

“Learning to draw the figure is a crucible, and you are melted and transformed when you are in it, and you leave behind what you used to be.”
-Jacob Collins (Founder, Water Street Atelier and Grand Central Academy, New York, NY)