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Robert Cottingham is internationally renowned as one of America's most important photo-realist painters. He has also described himself as a closet abstractionist because of the way he selects and separates forms in different contexts. Born in Brooklyn in 1935, he studied at Pratt Institute and began a brief career in Graphic Design, which later inspired him with his painting of American urban signage.

He draws inspiration from the paintings of Piet Mondrian, Edward Hopper, Charles Demuth, Stuart Davis, and Marsden Hartley. He uses his camera as a sketchbook and for him printmaking is "a great aid in painting because it continually gives him new insights into technique." Over the years he has tended to work in series: buildings, signs, words, numbers, letters, railroad imagery, and most recently, typewriters.

His work focuses on Americana.  Many of his paintings and prints depict the architecture and commercial signage of downtown America from the 1940’s and 1950’s that have now all but disappeared.  Since 1994, Cottingham has been working on a series of 26 lithographs depicting An American Alphabet, which will be completed in 2012.



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