ROBERT RICHENBURG

1917 - 2006

 

Biography

 

Robert Richenburg is unusual in having created singularly powerful, passionate work throughout a career that has spanned six decades.

 

Some painters who came to artistic maturity in the 1950s have landed in the deep freeze of art history.  Their work now seems dated, and we can’t know how it will look to people in 2050.  A retrospective of Mr. Richenburg’s paintings at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in 1993 showed just how fresh his work remained and reminded everyone that one of the geniuses of the period was still working.

 

In the last couple of years, clear-eyed dealers in New York and Chicago have been showing Richenburg canvases to a new generation of viewers --- and the public, and the critics, have

responded…

 

“So much gets in your way, so much can prevent you from being an artist,“ he said.  “It’s easier to give up and say, well, I have to earn a living.  You have to find a way around that, because you have to want to make art all the time.  You can’t push a button and say, ‘Now I’m going to be creative.’  I tried to be as creative in my teaching as I was in my art, and I think that helped.”

 

The art world is “much healthier today” in some respects than it was when he began his career, Mr. Richenburg said.  “There were very few artists then; now there are thousands.  But I do miss certain things.  Somehow, avant-garde art, which is to me the only art, is outside of many artists’ concerns today…

 

An artist must be willing to take risks, Mr. Richenburg said.  “In order to make something that is true you have to explore territory you don’t really know.  You have to take chances.”   But why is it so difficult to decide to take those chances?

 

 “We’re all cowards and heroes at the same time,” Mr. Richenburg said, smiling.

 

 

Robert Long

 

Selected Museum Collections

 

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock AR

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA

College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA

Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY

Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY

Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC

Hofstra University Museum, Hempstead, NY

Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia, Spain

Ithaca College Museum, Ithaca, NY

Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Parrish Museum of Art, Southampton, NY

Pasadena Museum of Fine Art, Pasadena, CA

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA

Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

University Art Museum, UC Berkeley, CA

University of Texas Art Museum, Austin, TX

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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