Fallen Through The Cracks – Black Artists in History: Robert Hamilton Blackburn
Robert Hamilton Blackburn
#FallenThroughTheCracks – Robert Hamilton Blackburn was born on December 12, 1920, in Summit, New Jersey, but grew up in Harlem, where his family moved when he was seven years old. He was an artist, teacher, and master printmaker. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he worked on the literary magazine The Magpie as a writer and artist alongside his counterpart James Baldwin.
Blackburn studied lithography and other printmaking techniques with Riva Helfond, who taught him how to operate the press. He worked at the Uptown Community Workshop, a gathering place for black artists and writers which allowed him to meet artists such as Romare Bearden, Aaron Douglas, and Jacob Lawrence. Blackburn attended the Art Students League and won a School Arts League Award and an Art Students League Working Scholarship for further study.
In 1947, Robert Blackburn established the Printmaking Workshop, an 8,000-square-foot (740 m2) loft at 114 West 17th Street in New York City. The workshop’s program included classes, an open studio area, and print shops where artists could experiment with different techniques. In 1971, Blackburn established a board of trustees and incorporated the Printmaking Workshop as a nonprofit.
The Workshop has amassed a comprehensive collection of artists’ prints and by 1997, over 2,500 of these works had been deposited with the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. Smaller selections of prints have been placed with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and El Museo Del Barrio in New York City.
In 1987, he received the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Award and received a MacArthur fellowship in 1992. The Printmaking Workshop received a Governor’s Art Award from the New York State Council on the Arts in 1988. Robert Blackburn died on April 21, 2003 (aged 82) in New York City, New York.
(Text paraphrased from Wikipedia and other sources. All Images are the property of the copyright owners. This clip is for educational purposes.)