Robert Reed (artist)

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Robert James Reed
Robert reed headshot in france.jpeg
(1938-07-09)July 9, 1938
DiedDecember 26, 2014(2014-12-26) (aged 76)

Robert James Reed Jr. (July 9, 1938 – December 26, 2014) born in Charlottesville, Virginia was an American artist and Professor of Painting and Printmaking at Yale University School of Art for 45 years.[1] Reed is known for his geometric abstraction[2] and personalized symbols to create a language of abstraction. In his painting, he employs abstract symbols, color and deeply textured brushwork to create his iconic imagery. His work includes paintings, drawings, monotypes, prints and collages.

Early life and education[edit]

Reed was born in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1938. He graduated with a B.A. from Morgan State, in Baltimore, MD in 1958 and earned a B.F.A. (1960) and M.F.A. (1962)[1] at Yale School of Art.


Reed's career as an art educator began as an Assistant Professor at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1962. This was followed by his appointment as Assistant Professor at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY from 1965-1969.[1]

Reed's 45 year teaching career at the Yale School of Art began in 1969 as Assistant Professor of Painting followed by appointment as Professor of Painting in 1987 until his death in 2014.[1]

Reed served as juror or curator for numerous shows including Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, CT.,[3] Silvermine Arts Center in New Canaan, CT, and Artspace in New Haven, CT.

Reed was a Guest Artist and lecturer at over 60 colleges and universities throughout the country and in Europe.[4]

He authored several art education programs including Acre, Spokane, WA.; Site, Cancun. Mx; SIX: Summer Experiment; Saratoga, NY.; and The Institute for Studio Studies, Auvillar, France.[5]

He served on the Board of Directors of Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts 2010-2012; the MacDowell Colony, 1987-1990, and Virginia Center for Creative Arts.[6]

Collections, awards, and exhibitions[edit]

Reed's works are in the permanent collections of a number of museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York;[7][8] National Academy Museum, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.;[9] Minneapolis Institute of Art; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis;[10] Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.;[11] Fralin Museum of Art, Charlottesville, Va.;[12] Ogden Museum of Southern Art;[13] New Orleans; and the Martin Museum of Art, Baylor University, Waco, Texas,[14] among others.

His work was also included among the 407 artists exhibited in the inaugural exhibition for the new Whitney Museum of American Art, May - September, 2015, America Is Hard To See.[15]

Reed is the recipient of a number of awards and honors including:

In recognition of Reed's contribution to undergraduate teaching, the Robert Reed Scholarship Fund[20] at the Yale School of Art was established and the Yale School of Art building, GO1 classroom[21] was named in his honor as the "Robert Reed Studio"[22] where Reed's admonition to his basic drawing students is inscribed at the entry "Drawing is a search, not a destination".

In further recognition of his contribution to the Yale School of Art, a solo retrospective exhibition[23][24] of his work was held in 2015, "Robert Reed: Non-Stop Painting",[25] curated by Robert Storr, former Dean, Yale School of Art.

Personal life[edit]

Reed was a member of the Alpha Iota chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity since 1956 having served as president of his line.

Reed died of cancer in New Haven, Connecticut on December 26, 2014.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d "Yale News, Memoriam Robert Reed".
  2. ^ "Artforum, Passages - Robert Reed, 2014".
  3. ^ Zimmer, William (2000-05-14). "ART; Among a Show of Drawings, Looking for Ones With Bite". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  4. ^ "WMU News - Yale's Robert Reed discusses his painting in free lecture". Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  5. ^ "VCCA" (PDF).
  6. ^ "Robert Reed 1938-2014". Robert Reed 1938-2014. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  7. ^ "Collection: Robert Reed".
  8. ^ "Robert Reed Online". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  9. ^ "The Hirshhorn Museum Collections".
  10. ^ "Oct 17". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  11. ^ "School Colors, Book Her Tea". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  12. ^ Corp.,, World Wide Arts Resources. "Galactic Journal: Recent Paintings and Collages by Robert Reed - Bayly Art Museum -". Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  13. ^ "Ogden Museum, Collection" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Baylor's Martin Museum of Art will Display Robert Reed's "Galactic Journal"". Media Communications | Baylor University. 2013-09-10. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  15. ^ "America Is Hard to See | Whitney Museum of American Art". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  16. ^ "DeVane Medalists". Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  17. ^ "National Acacemy of Design All Academicians".
  18. ^ "College Art Assoc 2004 Distinguished Teaching Award".
  19. ^ "Past Artists in Residence | Dartmouth Studio Art Department". Retrieved 2019-01-13.
  20. ^ "March/April 2015 | School of Art | School Notes | Yale Alumni Magazine". Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  21. ^ "Yale News, Reed Classroom Tribute".
  22. ^ "Yale School of Art community creates tribute to the late Robert Reed, 'who affected so many lives'". YaleNews. 2015-11-16. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  23. ^ "Yale School of Art, Reed Retrospective".
  24. ^ "Yale Art School Honors Reed".
  25. ^ "Yale School of Art presents work discovered in studio of Robert Reed, artist and educator". YaleNews. 2015-10-16. Retrieved 2018-04-14.
  26. ^ Naik, Rohan (January 2, 2015). "Robert Reed, advocate for undergraduate art program, dies at 76". Retrieved April 16, 2018.

External links[edit]