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Naked at the Edge: Bob Thompson

September 8 – October 31, 2015

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Press Release

About Bob Thompson
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Robert Louis (Bob) Thompson (1937-1966) studied at Boston University (1955) and the University of Louisville (1956-1958). He spent the summer of 1957 in Provincetown, where he was introduced to the expressive figurative work of Jan Muller, Hans Hofmann and Red Grooms. During the early 1960s Thompson traveled abroad extensively and spent time in Paris, Ibiza, and Rome. In 1963, artist friend Lester Johnson introduced him to Martha Jackson of the Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, where he had solo exhibitions in 1963 and 1965. Known for employing a language of expressive landscapes and figures painted in hot, violent tones, Thompson experienced painting as a liberating catharsis that allowed him to pour his soul onto canvas, weaving figures and landscapes into a tapestry of color. Thompson actively appropriated the work of European masters including Goya, Poussin, and Piero della Francesca, adapting their compositions and subject matter to his own visionary style and often turning idyllic, classical scenes into contemporary allegorical nightmares. Thompson’s brilliant reworking or European art history stands very much alone in twentieth-century art and reflects the vitality, spirit, and tragedy of his life. In 1966, at age twenty-eight, Thompson died suddenly in Rome. In a brief life that included only eight years of painting, Thompson left a complex body of work that has proved to be of great significance and influence to successive generations of artists. His work is included in many museum collections, and in 1998, the Whitney Museum of American Art organized a major traveling retrospective exhibition, featuring over one hundred of Thompson’s paintings. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is the exclusive representative of the Estate of Bob Thompson, and since 1996 the gallery has presented three exhibitions, publishing catalogues for each.

Naked at the Edge: Bob Thompson is our fourth solo exhibition for the artist, and is exhibited alongside the solo exhibition, Naked at the Edge: Louis Eilshemius.

Visuals available upon request.

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery is located at 100 11th Avenue (at 19th Street), New York, NY, 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 10AM-6PM.

For additional information, please contact Marjorie Van Cura at 212.247.0082 or