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 Robert Kipniss  (1931 - )

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: monochromatic vista, graphics

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Ad Code: 3
Robert Kipniss
from Auction House Records.
Rural Scene
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Robert Kipniss, painter and printmaker, was born in New York City in 1931. He creates essentially monochromatic*, stylized vistas with natural and architectural elements intended to evoke an elegiac, nearly surrealistic mood in haunting, silent landscapes; the melancholy of nostalgia.  Trees, in mid and far-distance, form clusters or act as misty individuals containing a haunted, indefinable presence, witnesses to the foreground drama of more specific shape, form and detail, often a close-up tree.

Kipniss studied at the Art Students League* in 1947; Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, 1948-50; and the University of Iowa, receiving a BA degree in English literature in 1952, and an MFA in painting and art history in 1954. The artist employs a meticulous technique combining a multiplicity of specific strokes, whether with brush, pencil or print-maker's needle and burin*, to create the essence of his generalized, non-specific forms.

Light and darkness are clearly Kipniss' compositionally constructive elements. They also exist as contestants in the emotional drama at the heart of each work of art.  The contrast, and sometimes combat, between these two opposites, symbolically represent with blackness -- ideas of threat, fear, trouble, evil; with whiteness safety, redemption, fulfillment and good.

In Kipniss' 1995 mezzotint*, Clear Vase and Landscape, with a foreground image of precisely leafy stalks, the vase holding them, nearly invisible in its transparency, suggests an almost Salvador Dali-like surrealist device.  This central image dominates but seems to invite association with, and commentary from, the surrounding clumps and individual round-topped, yet cedar-like trees.  His mezzzotint, For Stella," 1997, depicts a gently twisting, curving, pale and smoothly-barked foreground, leafless tree limb or trunk, like a female human body, suggesting weakness, fatigue, an inability to deal with the staccato background screen of textured bush that seems to uncomfortably impinge upon it.  This print is arguably a metaphor for a delicate soul struggling to overcome the prickly difficulties of domineering life.

The classic mezzotint process, invented in the middle of the 17th Century, is the reverse of most of the other print-making media, since the artist works from a black ground to increasingly lighter areas.  The copper plate is first roughened by a "rocker," creating a burr over the entire surface (the more burr left intact, the more ink it holds, the darker the final finished print).  The artist, Robert Kipniss, in this instance, gradually burnishes, smoothes down the burr in varying degrees to produce the gradations of lights and darks of the final design.  The deepest darks in the final picture are those areas on the plate that have been little touched after the initial roughening.

Mezzotint relies on shade and tone rather than outline for its effect, which fits the Kipniss style of atmospheric* masses of value.  A recent oil painting by Robert Kipniss, Hillside Silhouettes, 2001, 40 x 29, is somewhat more complex in composition than many, with four cubically-constructed houses each set in their own zones, seemingly unrelated to one another, with receding hills and similarly isolated, increasingly misty trees beyond.

In his career, Robert Kipniss has had over 40 one-man shows since the first in New York in 1951, including an important retrospective exhibition at the Associated American Artist Gallery, New York in 1977.  Many of these one-man exhibitions have been mounted by over 50 museums in the United States, South America and Europe, including the Chicago Art Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modem Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Library of Congress and British Museum in London.

Robert Kipniss is represented in the permanent collections of the institutions above, among many others, as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art; New York Public Library; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Detroit Art Institute; Yale University Museum; National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Portland Art Museum; and the New Orleans Museum of Art.

He was elected to the National Academy of Design* in 1980, and to the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, London in 1998

Robert Kipniss can be referenced in numerous publications, including Who's Who in American Art from the 1950s to the present, and multiple reviews in periodicals like Art News, Art in America and Art Forum. There are also three important catalogues raisonne published on his work.

Robert Kipniss has received many awards:
1965
Ohio University National Drawing Show, Purchase Prize
1976
National Academy of Design, New York City, The Ralph Fabri Prize
1978
The Print Club of Philadelphia, Charles M Lea Prize
1979
Charlotte Printmakers Society, Purchase Award
Society of American Graphic Artists, Printmaking Award
Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH, Honorary Doctorate
1980
Elected to the National Academy of Design, New York City
Audubon Artists, New York City, Silver Medal
National Academy of Design, New York City, The Leo Meissner Prize
1981
National Academy of Design, New York City, The Leo Meissner Prize
1983
Audubon Artists, New York City, Medal of Honour
1988
American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City: Speicher-Hassam Purchase
Award
1989
Illinois College, Honorary Doctorate
1995
Albany Print Club Purchase Award, Albany NY
1996
Albany Print Club Presentation Print Commission
1997
Audubon Artists, New York City, The Louis Lozowick Award
The Boston Printmakers, Juror's Commendatio
National Academy of Design, New York City, Certificate of Merit
1998
Audubon Artists, New York City, The Daniel Serra-Badue Memorial Award
Silvermine Guild 22nd National Print Biennial, CT, Juror's Award
1999
The Boston Printmakers, The Rembrandt Graphics Award
National Academy of Design, New York City, The Cannon Prize

Robert Kipniss publications include
1964
Poems of Emily Dickinson, Thomas Y Crowell, New York City, 26 Drawings
1966
Robert Graves: Collected Poems, Doubleday Anchor, New York City, Cover Painting
1980
Robert Kipniss, The Graphic Work, A catalogue raisonné, preface by Karl Lunde,
Abaris Books
1980-81
Robert Kipniss: The Graphic Work, Recent Prints, 1980-81, Edited by Richard
Lundgren, Art Connections Gallery
1981
Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, Limited Editions Club, New York City, 10
original lithographs bound in each volume
1996
Printmaking Experiences in Printmaking Today, Spring 1996, London

SOURCES
http://www.redfern-gallery.co.uk/pages/artistinfo/212.html
http://gasoftware.freeyellow.com/def.htm
http://www.weinstein.com/kipniss/images.html
http://parkwestgallery.acmeinfo.com/pwg0Info/bios/kipniss.htm

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx



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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Robert Kipniss was born in 1931 in New York City. He has studied at the Art Students League, Wittenburg University, and the University of Iowa where he received his BA and MFA in painting and art history. He spent many years making lithographs from stone, aluminum and Mylar plastic. He then switched to pre rocked mezzotint plates of copper. The special soft, dreamy images possible with mezzotint are apparent in this, the first mezzotint commissioned by the PCA. Robert Kipniss' works are in the Metropolitan , Boston MFA and the Smithsonian, among many.

Source: Print Club of Albany

Biography from ACME Fine Art:
Robert Kipniss
1931-

Education:
Art Students League of New York
Wittenberg College, Springfield, Ohio
University of Iowa

Prizes and Awards:
Ohio University National Drawing Show, Purchase Prize (1965)
The Print Club of Philadelphia, Charles M. Lea Prize (1978)
Charlotte Printmakers Society, Purchase Award (1979)
Society of American Graphic Artists, Printmaking Award (1979)
Wittenberg University, Springfield Ohio, Honorary Doctorate (1979)
American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City: Speicher-Hassam Purchase Award (1988)
Illinois College, Honorary Doctorate (1989)
Albany Print Club Purchase Award, Albany, N.Y. (1995)
Albany Print Club Presentation Print Commission (1996)
Audubon Artists, New York City: The Daniel Serra-Badue Memorial Award (1998); The Louis Lozowick Award (1997); Medal of Honor, 1983 Silver Medal (1980); Prizes in printmaking (1978 & 1976)
Silvermine Guild 22nd National Print Biennial, CT, Juror's Award (1998)
The Boston Printmakers: The Rembrandt Graphics Award (1999); Juror's Commendation (1997)
National Academy of Design, New York City: The Cannon Prize (1999); Certificate of Merit (1997); The Leo Meissner Prize (1981 & 1980); The Ralph Fabri Prize (1976); Elected to the Academy (1980)
Elected to the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, London, U.K. (1998)
Purchase prize "prints, U.S.A" Springfield Museum of Art Missouri (1999)

Exhibitions:
Joe Gans Gallery, New York, 1951 (solo)
Harry Salpeter Gallery, New York, 1953 (solo)
Allen R. Hite Institute, University of Louisville, Kentucky, 1965 (solo)
The Contemporaries, New York, 1959, ’60, ’66, ’67 (solo)
FAR Gallery, New York, 1968, ’70, ’72, ’75 (solo)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1972
Xochipili Gallery, Rochester, Michigan, 1975 (solo)
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1975 (solo)
Centro de Arte Actual, Pereira, Colombia, 1975 (solo)
Galeria de Arte, Lima, Peru, 1977 (solo)
Exhibitions Continued:
Associated American Artists (AAA), New York, 1977 (solo)
Canton Art Institute, Canton, Ohio, 1979 (solo)
Museo de Arte moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia, 1975, ’80 (solo)
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 1977, ’80 (solo)
Gage Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1981 (solo)
Bruce Museum of Arts and Science, Greenwich, CT, 1981 (solo)
Payson/Weisberg Gallery, New York, 1981, ’83 (solo)
ICA, Nagoya, Japan, 1984 (solo)
Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, Ohio, 1983, ’85 (solo)
Haller-Griffin Gallery, Washington Depot, CT, 1985 (solo)
American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, 1988
Illinois College, Jacksonville, Illinois, 1989 (solo)
Enatsu Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 1987, ’88, ’90 (solo)
OK Harris Works of Art, New York, 1991 (solo)
Theodore B. Donson Gallery, New York, 1992 (solo)
Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, 1979, ’93 (solo)
Laura Craig Gallery, Scranton, PA, 1990, ’91, ’93 (solo)
Taunhaus Gallery, Osaka and Kanazawa, Japan, 1994 (solo)
The Century Association, New York, 1996 (solo)
Venable/Neslage Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1995, ’97 (solo)
Hexton Gallery, New York, 1994, ’95, ’96,’97 (solo)
Jane Haslem Gallery, Washington, D.C., 1976, ’98 (solo)
Gallery New World, Dusseldorf, Germany, 1995, ’98 (solo)
Davidson Gallery, Seattle, Washington, 1982, ’83, ’93, ’99 (solo)
Redfern Gallery, London, 1995, ’99 (solo)
Molesey Gallery, Easty Molesey, Surrey, UK, 1995, ’99 (solo)
Gerhard Wurzer Gallery, Houston, Texas, 1981, ’86, ’88, ’97, ’99 (solo)
Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler, Texas, 1999 (solo)
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, London, 1999
Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, UK, 1999
National Academy of Design, New York, 1999
The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio, 1999 (solo)
Bassenge Gallery, Berlin, Germany, 1999 (solo)
The British Museum, London, 2000
Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco, CA, 2000, ’01, ’02 (solo)
Royal Academy, London, 2001
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2001
Harmon-Meek Gallery, Naples, FL, 2002 (solo)
Art Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke, VA, 2002
Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington, 2002
Wichita Falls Museum and Art Center, Wichita Falls, Texas, 1997, 2003 (solo)
Beadleston Gallery, New York, 2001, ’03 (solo)
Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Missouri, 2003 (solo)
Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, FL, 2003
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, 2003

Selected Collections:
Achenback Foundation for Graphic Arts, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California Palace of the Legion of Honor
Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, Pennsylvania
Arkansas State University Permanent Collection, State University, Arkansas
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Art Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke, Virginia
Art Students League of New York, New York
Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, Maine
Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris
Bodleian Library, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
The British Museum, London
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York
The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
Canton Art Institute, Canton, Ohio
Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Century Association, New York, New York
The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts
De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, Massachusetts
The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan
Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, Iowa
Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York
Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Michigan
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina
Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts
The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana
Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University, Stanford, California
Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick
Lakeview Museum of Arts and Sciences, Peoria, Illinois
Library of Congress, Washingtong, D.C.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
The Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York
Minnesota Museum of American Art, Saint Paul, Minnesota
Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina
Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
National Academy of Design, New York, New York
National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana
The New York Public Library, Print Collection, New York
Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando, Florida
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pinakothek der Moderne, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Munich
Portland Art Museum, Portland, Oregon
Print Club of Albany, Albany, New York
Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, London
Society of American Graphic Artists, New York
Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Loretto, Pennsylvania
Springfield Art Museum, Springfield, Missouri
Springfield Museum of Art, Springfield, Ohio
Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Washington
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia
Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York
Wichita Falls Museum and Art Center, Wichita Falls, Texas
Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut


Biography from Ebo Gallery:
Robert Kipniss, painter and printmaker, was born in New York City in 1931.  He studied at the Art Students League in 1947; Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, 1948-50; and the University of Iowa, receiving a BA degree in English literature in 1952, and an MFA in painting and art history in 1954.

Kipniss began his career as a painter, enjoying his initial New York solo exhibition in 1951.  He produced his first print in 1967 at the urging of Murray Roth, his dealer at the time.  After first producing etchings and drypoints from copper plates, Kipniss switched to lithography and began a two decade collaboration with the master printer Burr Miller.  Following this period, Kipniss turned his efforts to mezzotints.

The artist employs a meticulous technique combining a multiplicity of specific strokes, whether with brush, pencil or print-maker’s needle and burin, to create the essence of his essentially monochromatic, stylized vistas with natural and architectural elements.  The artist has stated that the “central impetus of my work is the endless range of feelings and thoughts evoked by the basic act of seeing, usually in isolation, and with a haunting intensity.”

In his career, Robert Kipniss has had over 200 One-Man Shows since the first in New York in 1951.  Recent Group Shows include the Royal Academy, London; Royal Academy Summer Show, 2001; The British Museum, London; Recent Acquisitions, 2000; and the National Academy of Design, New York, "Treasures Revealed: Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century American Works on Paper, 1999". An exhibition of his work, "Seen in Solitude: Robert Kipniss Prints from the James F. White Collection", was selected to reopen the New Orleans Museum of Art in 2006.

Robert Kipniss is represented in numerous public collections in the United States, South America and Europe including: The Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Library of Congress, The British Museum, London, the National Academy of Design, New York, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, London (diploma piece), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Morgan Library and Museum, New York, NY.

He was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1980, and to the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, London in 1998. I n 2008, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of American Graphic Artists.  He has also received the Speicher-Hassam Purchase Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, as well as Honorary Doctorates from Wittenberg University and Illinois College.

Robert Kipniss can be referenced in numerous publications, including Who’s Who in American Art from the 1950s to the Present, and multiple reviews in periodicals such as Art News, Art in America and Art Forum.  There are also three important Catalogues Raisonné published on his work.

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