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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Robert Remsen Vickrey

Robert Remsen Vickrey 

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Robert Remsen Vickrey was born in New York City in 1926, attended Wesleyan University as an undergraduate, followed by the Yale School of Fine Arts in the 1940s, where he received his B.A. and later a B.F.A. Between his two programs at Yale he studied under Victoria Huntley, Reginald March and Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Arts Students League of New York. It was in a required course during his B.F.A. program at Yale that Vickrey discovered the egg tempera medium, which subsequently became “his medium.” Vickrey has become America’s leading modern master of this centuries-old medium and is unquestionably the methods most innovative practitioner. From 1957 to 1968 Vickrey traveled the world painting cover images for TIME magazine, which featured more than ninety notables, world leaders, and life portraits. Seventy-eight of these portraits were eventually published, which significantly expanded his own reputation and fame. As the art world mainstream shifted from narrative realism to Pop and hard-edged minimalism, Vickrey continued to mix egg yolks with ground pigments to create realist images of fictionalized actuality. Vickrey takes symbols and subjects from his personal observations, as well as traditional religious iconography and pop culture, and places them in a whimsical landscape defined by exaggerated use of shadows and lights, which often creates a captivating spatial illusion. Vickrey’s meticulously crafted paintings are a window into a place that exists somewhere between sleep and awake, where nuns, children and clowns are innocently wandering and reacting to the surreal dreamscape around them.

Vickrey has had more than one hundred solo shows at prominent museums and commercial galleries throughout America. Over one hundred of his paintings are represented in the permanent collections public museums and institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian, the Corcoran Gallery, and the National Academy of Design. He has won fifty-four major national prizes, has been elected to full membership in the National Academy, to full membership in the American Watercolor Society, and has been designated as a Dolphin fellow by the latter group. Vickrey has been the subject of three books, many articles in major publications, including American Artist magazine, and a PBS television program.

He lives and paints in Massachusetts and in Florida.

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