Kenyon College

Robert Colescott (American 1925-2009)


Robert Colescott is one of the most celebrated African American painters of the 20th century. Simultaneously humorous and haunting, his work is recognizable for it’s poignant social critiques exploring themes dealing with race, gender and social inequality. His transgressive paintings utilized an improvisational approach and visually quote key works by artists such as Goya, Manet, Van Gogh, and Picasso. His highly stylized figurative imagery illustrated in a garish color palette confronts the viewer with uncomfortable racial and sexual stereotypes. Colescott’s work is collected in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C. Colescott earned both his BFA and MFA at UC Berekley and in 1950 he spent a year in Paris studied with Fernand Leger. Colescott taught at Portland State University, the American University of Cairo, Cal State, UC Berkley, the San Francisco Art Institute, and the University of Arizona in Tucson where he retired as a professor emeritus.

Photo: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times  at



Faith Ringgold's art of fearlessness and joy...
Nation Gallery logo image

Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series: Julie Mehretu
Nation Gallery logo image

Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series: Thomas Struth