oil on canvas
39 x 39 inches
signed lower right
An Abstract Expressionist painter and also a long-time art teacher, Robert Richenburg was known for “ominous paintings in which fields of black were punctuated by bursts of color and line.” Of the signature artwork of Robert Richenburg , a critic in a 1959 review wrote: “This painting must symbolize the most terrifying aspects of metropolitan life.”
Robert Richenburg was a student of Hans Hofmann and was very much a part of the hey-day activities of Abstract Expressionism in the mid 1950’s in New York City. While a student of Hofmann, Richenburg exhibited at the Museum of Non-Objective Painting (later the Guggenheim) in 1950. The following year, he participated in the historic Ninth Street Art Exhibition. This exhibition, which was supervised by the famous art dealer Leo Castelli, helped establish the New York School of painting.
Richenburg subsequently taught at Pratt Institute along with Franz Kline, Adolph Gottlieb, Jack Tworkov, Philip Guston, Milton Resnick and Tony Smith (sculptor). By 1961, critic Irving Sandler declared that “Richenburg emerges as one of the most forceful painters on the New York Art Scene.” The Whitney Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among others, purchased his work.
Richenburg resigned from the Pratt Institute in 1964 over the administration’s objection to him encouraging a student who was making assemblages out of rags and tin foil. The artist then took a job teaching at Cornell university and moved to Ithaca with his wife and son. This change meant that Robert Richenburg focused more on his teaching than his art work, but he never stopped painting. In the 1980’s, thanks to the support of Bonnie Grad, an art professor at Clark university in Worcester, Massachusetts, exhibitions were held of the art of Robert Richenburg. In 2006, a 60-year retrospective of the work of Robert Richenburg was held at the Sidney Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College in Manhattan.