Renowned American figurative painter Robert Colescott died on June 4, 2009 at his home in Tuscon, Arizona at the age of 83. The artist is best known for his garishly powerful canvases lampooning racial and sexual stereotypes with rakish imagery, lurid colors, and almost tangible glee, most notably his George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page From an American History Textbook. Colescott’s relatively early embrace of racial issues in his art paved the path for contemporary African-American artists such as Ellen Gallagher, Kara Walker and Kalup Linzy.
In 1997, at age 71, Colescott became the first African American to represent the United States in a solo exhibition at the Venice Biennale, a major contemporary art exhibition. His work is in several major institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Corcoran Gallery of Art.