On Becoming An Artist
Robert Kipniss ’52 Shares Personal Journey During Witt Series Event
Recognized as one of America’s foremost landscape artists, Robert Kipniss ’52 started painting and drawing at age 3. By 16, he had enrolled in a class at the Art Students League, where the teacher recognized his artistic eye and allowed him to draw on his own in the facility’s back gallery. Four years later, Kipniss placed second in a New York competition, which resulted in a one-man show. From there, his journey began, one filled with challenge, enlightenment and determination, and one that members of the Wittenberg and Springfield communities had the opportunity to hear during his Witt Series sponsored Visual Artist Residency and gallery talk, this spring.
Characterized by a natural setting, often a simple structure and a few hills in an untouched silence, Kipniss’ paintings and prints have been exhibited around the world with many in prestigious collections, including those of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and British Museum.
Looking back at his career, Kipniss recalled how self-criticism led him to invent solutions to the problems he found and thereby discover a style.
“I felt instead of learning how to paint, I had to look inside myself to focus intently on what it was I wanted to paint, what it was I wanted to communicate and then teach myself how to do that because I felt I had something worthwhile.”
His many awards, including the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Purchase Prize, and honorary doctorate from Wittenberg, reflect his passion for his work, some of which was inspired by “the unconscious echoes of his college days” at Wittenberg.