BOB THOMPSON: This House is Mine

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By Diana K. Tuite, Curator and Editor with contributions by Kraig Blue, Adrienne L. Childs, and Bridget R. Cooks.

 

SKU: 2224 Category:

Description

A rich reconsideration of a short-lived but visionary voice in twentieth-century American painting and his enduring relevance.

 

Bob Thompson (1937–1966) came to critical acclaim in the late 1950s for paintings of unparalleled figurative complexity and chromatic intensity. Thompson drew upon the Western art-historical canon to formulate a highly personal, expressive language. Tracing the African American artist’s prolific, yet tragically brief, transatlantic career, this volume examines Thompson’s outlier status and pays close attention to his sustained engagements with themes of community, visibility, and justice. As the contributors contextualize the artist’s ambitions and his unique creative process, they reposition Thompson as a predecessor to contemporary artists such as Kerry James Marshall and Kehinde Wiley. Featuring an array of artwork, and never-before-published poems and archival materials, this study situates Thompson’s extraordinary output within ongoing dialogues about the politics of representation.

Robert Louis (Bob) Thompson briefly studied medicine at Boston University before enrolling in the studio program at the University of Louisville, which had desegregated in 1951. As an art student, Thompson explored the languages of totemic abstraction then in vogue and developed an extraordinary proficiency in academic drawing. He spent the summer of 1958 in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he continued his training at the Seong Moy School of Painting and Graphic Arts and forged valuable friendships. Thompson also encountered the work of the recently deceased German émigré artist Jan Müller (1922–1958), whose figurative style pointed him toward new expressive possibilities.

 

Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine is organized by the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine, and curated by Diana Tuite.

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