Donald Roller Wilson

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Donald Roller Wilson (born November 23, 1938) is an American artist. He is known for using items in his paintings, such as dogs and cats, chimpanzees, dill pickles, wooden matches, olives, asparagus stalks, and even cigarettes. He paints in oils in very polished realism using the same techniques of the old masters.

He was born in Houston, Texas and educated at Wichita State University. He taught at the University of Arkansas from 1967 - 1974[1] and lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with his wife Kathleen, also an artist.

According to the New York Times, "Donald Roller Wilson's goofy, hallucinogenic, old master-style painting of monkeys, dogs and cats dressed up in antique costumes may be kitsch, but it's high-quality kitsch, like good beach reading."[2]

Some of the characters he has created include Cookie the Baby Orangutan, Jane the Pug Girl, Jack the Jack Russell “Terror,” Loretta the Actress Cat, Miss Dog America, and Patricia the Seeing Eye Dog of Houston.

Wilson's works can be seen in the Brooklyn Museum; Chicago Art Institute; Whitney Museum; Bank of America in San Francisco, California; Coe Kerr Gallery, New York City; and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, as well as many other galleries. The majority of his work is in the hands of private collectors.

He created album cover art for musician Frank Zappa during the 1980s and 1990s. Among these: Boulez Conducts Zappa: The Perfect Stranger (1984), Francesco Zappa (1984) and Them Or Us (1984).[3]

His main gallery at present is the John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco, and his paintings may be collected through Peter Sahlman in New York.

Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 1998 Donald Roller Wilson: One Man Show, Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS
  • 1997 Donald Roller Wilson: Paintings, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA
  • 1989 Donald Roller Wilson, The Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL
  • 1988 Roller: The Paintings of Donald Roller Wilson, Organized and toured by Mid-America Art Alliance, Kansas City, MO; traveled to: Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR; The Fine Art Center, Nashville, TN; Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, OK; Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, AL; Art Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, TX
  • 1974 The Paintings of Donald Roller Wilson (catalogue), La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA
  • 1970 Donald Roller Wilson, Museum of Fine Arts, Kansas City, MO
  • 1970 Donald Roller Wilson, The City Arts Museum of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
  • 1969 Donald Roller Wilson, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX
  • 1966 Donald Roller Wilson, Wichita Art Museum, Wichita, KS


  1. ^ Artnet
  2. ^ New York Times, June 18, 1999.
  3. ^ Neil Slaven, Electric Don Quixote: The Definitive Story of Frank Zappa, Omnibus Press, 2003, p332. ISBN 0-7119-9436-6

External links[edit]