Robert Cottingham was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1935 and received his BFA degree from Pratt Institute, also in Brooklyn. Later, he studied at the Arts Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and began his career as an advertising art director in Los Angeles. The Artist’s first easel paintings were of scenes outside his office window, in fact. Robert Cottingham later established himself in the early 1970’s among other renowned artists of his generation, such as Richard Estes and Chuck Close.
Known for his photo-realistic depictions of signs, storefront marquees and railroad boxcars and letter forms, Cottingham does not consider himself a Photorealist artist. His imagery, derived from his own photography, expands on the photographic image instead of seeking to replicate it exactly. Cottingham’s later work has explored images derived from cameras, typewriters and machine parts he calls “components”.
Forum Gallery introduced Robert Cottingham’s landmark, An American Alphabet, at his first exhibition with the gallery in 1996 and since presented five solo exhibitions for the Artist. A retrospective of Robert Cottingham’s print work was organized and exhibited by the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC in 1998.
Robert Cottingham is represented in many important museum collections, including The Art Council of Great Britain in London, The Art Institute of Chicago in IL, Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock, The Baltimore Museum of Art in MD, The Birmingham Museum of Art in AL, The Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, PA, The Cincinnati Art Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art in OH, The Delaware Art Museum in MD, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art in New York, The High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., The Hunter Museum of Art in Chattanooga, TN, the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art in CA, The Ludwig Collection in Cologne, Germany, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Tampa Museum of Art in FL, The Tate Gallery in London, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, CT.