Farnsworth Art Museum
Robert Hamilton: A Vocabulary of Images
February 27 - May 30, 1999
First Coronet, 1985, oil on canvas, 28 x 28 inches, collection of the artist
The paintings of artist Robert Hamilton, "A Vocabulary of Images," will open at the Farnsworth Art Museum in the Crosman Gallery from February 27 to May 30, 1999. At the same time, a collection of related drawings will be on exhibition in the museum library. Hamilton, who has lived in Port Clyde, Maine, since 1981, rarely shows his work outside his own premises these days. To view his work, one must travel to Port Clyde and visit his two galleries, Gallery I and The Octagon. He paints in his studio all winter and shows the resulting works in his galleries during the summer. It is therefore a rare privilege to see a significant collection of his work brought together this spring at the Farnsworth - his first-ever show in a Maine museum.
In this exhibition, Hamilton's often playful, sometimes mysterious, always intriguing paintings continue to surprise and delight. His subject matter is diverse, ranging from circuses and tennis players to pyramids and beach balls. He has said that one of his primary sources of inspiration is jazz, in particular its strong improvisational element. During the Second World War, from 1943-45, he served as a captain in the United States Air Force as fighter pilot. This was one of the defining experiences of his life and a wellspring for his rich vocabulary of images.
Robert Hamilton was born in Seneca, New York in 1916 and attended the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree. He also studied at the Art Students League in New York in 1940. After the war, Hamilton taught painting and drawing at RISD for 34 years, moving to Maine permanently on his retirement. In 1974 he was painter in residence at the American Academy in Rome. His work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions and is included in many private and public collections throughout the country.
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