Ronald B. Brooks Kitaj

American , 1932 - 2007

As a child, R.B. Kitaj attended art classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art. After high school, he studied art at Cooper Union in New York and at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. Following two years in Europe serving for the United States Army, Kitaj became a student at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford University before transferring in 1959 to the Royal College of Art in London. Kitaj remained in Europe, spending 40 years in London, where he was connected with the School of London along with Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, and David Hockney. He moved to Los Angeles in 1997, where he lived until 2007.

Though considered a Pop artist, Kitaj had limited interest in the culture of mass media and instead worked from pictorial and literary sources. Renowned for his use of art historical references, Kitaj’s work was inspired by late 19th-century French art and his Jewish identity. His painting and prints add up to an extraordinary body of work. His prints function as an illustrated journal of an artist's life, characterized by a quest for new subject matter and innovative ways to depict it. Kitaj was one of the most influential artists in the late twentieth century and continues to link personal history with contemporary art through his unique vision.
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