The Art of Robert M. Fisher, Colorist

As a Devoted Student of Hans Hofmann Dies, His Work Comes to Life...

Robert De Niro, Sr. James Gahagan. Lillian Orlowsky. Not household names, but well-known to anyone interested in abstract expressionism, and especially to those interested in the work of students of the great artist/teacher, Hans Hofmann. If you fall into this category...welcome to
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Robert Miles Fisher studied with Hans Hofmann at the latter's New York City School in the 1950's, and remained a devoted colorist until his death in the summer of 2007.

He was proud to have been extensively interviewed and prominently featured in the production of the 2003 PBS special on Hans Hofmann:

Hans Hofmann: Artist/Teacher - Teacher/Artist

"Bob," as he was known to his friends, is pictured at right with Mr. Hofmann's mosaic mural at 711 Third Ave. in New York City, which Bob worked on with his mentor. Bob was working on a book about Mr. Hofmann's mosaic work (tentatively entitled Ancient Bottle, New Wine: The Impact of Hans Hofmann's New York City Mosaic Murals on the World of Modern Art at the time of his death.

In addition to being an artist, and producing hundreds of oils and many more watercolor and charcoal works, Bob was proud of his political activism. From being a conscientious objector during the Korean War (and working in a mental hospital for his alternative service) to his "Mississippi Summer" civil rights work in the 1960's, Bob often took principled but unpopular stands.

By nature he was an iconoclast, and often oppositional and vehement in his beliefs. Paradoxically, he was generous to an extreme, and up to the last year of his life would cut fallen timber into firewood for those "less fortunate than himself' (this was said by a man living in rather primitive conditions on his land in Vermont, with an income of approximately $5,000 a year)...

Unfortunately, Bob's personality and beliefs (including, as fellow artist Myrna Harrison put it, that Bob amongst all of Mr. Hofmann's students believed most strongly that "...selling art was selling out." made it difficult for him to promote his artwork or sell it. When he would occasionally, under pressure from a friend or neighbor, sell them a watercolor, he would literally have to leave his studio, as he could not stand to have a prospective buyer choose one painting over another (" choosing one of your children over the other," as he put it.).

As his death approached, Bob requested his long-time friends and neighbors David Harp and Rita Ricketson of Middlesex, Vermont, to help keep his legacy as a Hofmann protege' alive. With the help of other friends, artists, and fans of Bob's work, his lifetime work has been located, organized, and cataloged. Two shows have been arranged for the summer of 2009, at the Wood Gallery in Montpelier, Vermont, and at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Although, for reasons discussed above, Bob was never as well-known an artist as his close friends and fellow Hofmann students James Gahagan and Lillian Orlowsky, the large body of work that he leaves is true to the Volumetric and Colorist precepts of his beloved teacher.

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All material ©, 2009