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Robert Andrew Parker

1927 - 2023

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Robert Andrew Parker and his family moved frequently because his father was a U.S. Army dentist, relocating in New Mexico, Washington, Indiana, and Illinois. Parker joined the Army Air Corps near the end of World War II. After his discharge in 1948, he studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and Atelier 17 in New York City.

In his long career as an artist and illustrator, Parker’s work has appeared in several notable publications, including Time, The New Yorker, and Sports Illustrated, and been exhibited widely. He has also illustrated more than forty children’s books and received numerous accolades, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a fellowship to the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles, a Caldecott Honor, and an American Library Association Notable Book award.

His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, among others. He has taught at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Parsons School of Design, Syracuse University, and the School of Visual Arts, New York.

Parker has worked with little interruption since being diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2003. In fact, aside from contributing to a looser approach (in particular as regards his line work), vision loss has scarcely affected his productivity or the nature of his work. His days are spent in his studio, where he makes prints, paintings, sculptures, and books, exploring subjects and themes that have interested him since childhood. These include, as the poet Marianne Moore put it when she wrote about him decades ago: “Animals, persons—individually and en masse; trees, isolated and thickset; architecture, ships, troops.”

Robert Andrew Parker in his studio in West Cornwall, Connecticut, in 2019.
Photo by Brian Schumacher for the Vision & Art Project/AMDF.
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