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Thomas Sgouros

1927-2012

Born to Greek immigrant parents in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sgouros received his BFA in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1950. After working as a professional illustrator in Boston and New York, he returned to RISD in 1962 to teach in the illustration department and invest himself in his studio practice as an artist. He exhibited his work regularly and became an esteemed member of his department. Among many other accolades for his teaching and leadership, he held the Helen M. Danforth Distinguished Professorship from 1991 to 1994. A member of the National Academy, Sgouros received several awards, including a Claiborne Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts.

His work is in the permanent collections of the Anchorage Museum of Fine Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Jacksonville Museum of Fine Art, the RISD Museum, the Colby College Museum of Art, and the Newport Art Museum.

Sgouros was diagnosed with macular degeneration in his sixties, whereupon he struggled with severe depression. Despite his despair, however, he continued teaching at RISD and working in his studio. Taking what he learned in the first part of his career—that painting was about “energizing, exploring and changing the equation of the rectangle,” as he put it—he used masking tape and a T-square to create horizon lines and then began painting what he came to call his Remembered Landscapes, the sole subject of his work for the last twenty years of his painting life.

Thomas Sgouros in his studio in Providence, Rhode Island, in 2009.
Photo by Lucas Foglia.
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