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Robert Cottingham

American, born 1935

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Robert Cottingham explores the familiar signs of the city. His photo realist paintings of neon signs, movie marquees, and store advertisements reflect what he saw as a boy in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born. His images also grow out of his interest in letters as symbols, and words as tools of persuasion. Early in his career, he worked in advertising. Cottingham graduated from Pratt Institute and lives in Newtown, Connecticut.

He takes many photographs of his subjects, but his precise, detailed paintings and prints are all executed in other media. Like his most famous works, Hot presents a sign seen from below at an angle. He has worked in many media, including watercolor, painting, woodcut, etching, and lithography. His work is in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]

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