Ronald Brooks Kitaj (American, 2007)

Ronald Brooks Kitaj (American, 1932–2007) was an artist loosely associated with the Pop Art movement and best known for his brightly-colored, figurative paintings that allude to political history and the effects of mass media on modern life. Born in Cleveland, OH, Kitaj studied at the Royal College of Art in London alongside David Hockney, and lived in England for most of his life. Many of Kitaj’s paintings draw from historical and cultural narratives, especially relating to the Jewish tradition, and question ideas of artistic progress. His If Not, Not (1975), for example, is based on T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land and depicts a distorted landscape of stagnant water, a broken Henri Matisse bust, scattered books, and a building that represents the gate into Auschwitz. In his The Autumn of Central Paris (1972), Kitaj constructs a crowd of fragmented, overlapping figures lead by the philosopher Walter Benjamin. In 1991, Kitaj received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London, and won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1995. He has held solo exhibitions at the Tate Gallery in London, the Marlborough Gallery in New York, and the National Gallery in London.

Timeline

1932
R. B. Kitaj is born as Ronald Brooks in Cleveland, Ohio
1950–1951
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York
1951–1954
Studies at the Academy of Fine Art, Vienna
1956–1958
U.S. Army of Occupation, AFCE HQ (Armed Forces Central Europe)
1957–1959
Ruskin School of Drawing, University of Oxford, where he attended lectures by Edgar Wind and Douglas Cooper
1959–1961
Royal College of Art, London
1959–1961
Forms lasting friendship with David Hockney
1962–1965
Settles in London and teaches at Camberwell and the Slade
1970–1971
Teaches at UCLA. Meets Sandra Fisher
1982
Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters
1982
Honorary Doctorate, University of London
1985
Elected to the Royal Academy
1989
Published First Diasporist Manifesto, translated into German and Hungarian
1991
Honorary Doctorate, Royal College of Art, London
1994
Major retrospective at the Tate Gallery, London.
1995
Wins the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale
1995
Honorary Doctorate, California College of Arts, Oakland
1996
Chevalier in Order of Arts and Letters, Paris
1996
Commissioned portrait of President Bill Clinton for University College, Oxford
1996
Honorary Doctorate, Durham University
1997
Wollaston Award to the best painting in the Summer exhibition, Royal Academy, London
1999
Exhibition at the National Gallery, London: Kitaj In The Aura of Cézanne And Other Masters
1999
Honorary Doctorate, Spertus College, Chicago
2001
Begins to write his Confessions of an Old Jewish Painter

Exhibitions

2007–2008
Paintings and Sculpture, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York, December 12, 2007 - January 12, 2008
2007
Summer Exhibition, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY, June 6 – September 21
2006
Summer Group Show, Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY, June 22 – September 5
2005
Modern Masters, Marlborough Fine Art, London, March 9 – 24.
2005
R.B. Kitaj: How To Reach 72 In A Jewish Art, Marlborough Gallery, New York, New York, March 1 – April (solo)
2004
Kitaj: Retrato de un Hispanista, Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao, Spain, 31 May-1 August (solo)
2003
R. B. Kitaj: Los Angeles Pictures 1998-2003, L.A. Louver Gallery, Venice, California, USA, 21 May-5 July (solo)
2002
R. B. Kitaj: A Survey of his Printmaking 1964-2001, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, England, 14 February-6 April (solo)
2001–2002
Kitaj: In the Aura of Cézanne and Other Masters, National Gallery, London, England, 7 November-10 February (solo)
2000
Paintings; Marlborough Gallery, New York, April 26 – May 20; travelling to Marlborough Monte-Carlo, Monaco, June 28 - September 30
2000
R.B. Kitaj: How To Reach 67 in Jewish Art, Galeria Marlborough, Madrid, Spain, 12 September-14 (solo)
1999
Portrait of a City: Seven Figurative Painters from London, 12 January-27 February, John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco
1998
Pop Art Spirits: Masterpieces from the Ludwig Collection, 15 August - 5 October, Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo; 24 October - 23 November, Himeji Museum of Art, Hyogo, Japan
1998
R.B. Kitaj: An American in Europe, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, Norway, 10 January-22 March; travelled to Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, Spain, 7 April-9 June; Jüdisches Museum de Stadt wien, Wien, Austria, 25 June-30 August; Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany,13 September-22 November (solo)
1997
Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, London, June-17 August, 1997
1996
From London, 16 February-17 April, Fundación Caixa de Catalunya, Barcelona
1996
Sandra Two, FIAC, Espace Eiffel Branly, Paris, France, 2-7 October (solo)
1993
Obra Reciente, Arikha, Auerbach, Kitaj, Marlborough Madrid, September-October, 1993
1985
R.B. Kitaj, Marlborough Fine Art, London, England, November December (solo)
1980
Kitaj: Pastels and Drawings, Marlborough Fine Art, London, England, 8 October 7 November (solo)