Portia Van Kress is an American painter and board member of Renard Enterprises, the company built by her father, Jean Renard.
Portia was born in Boston to Jean and Giselle Renard. The youngest of four children Portia strove from an early age to keep up with her siblings and thus learned to read and write before she was old enough to attend school. Artistically gifted she began painting even before she began speaking. Her parents, proud French immigrants, encouraged her love of the arts. They enrolled her in the best art schools and she had her first gallery showing when she was just sixteen.
Portia met her husband, Drew Van Kress, at one of her gallery showings. The couple had a heated argument about the value of neo-expressionism that resulted in Drew asking her to dinner. She said yes on principle since they hadn’t yet finished the argument. It was a sign of things to come. The couple had a tempestuous relationship. Together they had three children: twins Julien and Julia and youngest daughter, Victoria. Portia served Drew with divorce papers when she found out he was cheating on her.
Throughout her formative years, Portia experimented with a number of art styles but kept coming back to impressionism. She ultimately made a name for herself in the field, achieving some critical acclaim and being compared more than once to the old masters. While her painting took a backseat for several years to the raising of her children, she entered a new era of prolific creativity in 2006. Some notable pieces of hers are:
Song for One
The Battle Cry of the Lovelorn
The Innocence of Child and Dog
Betrayal and Revelation
Soliloquy for a Dead Child
Grace and Agony
The Flowers in June