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fine art


mixed media

Richard Whitten

L'Obscurité, Trompe L'Oeil


Gold leaf, wood and oil on panel

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Richard Whitten (American, b. 1958).

Formerly in the collection of the Triton Art Museum, Santa Clara, California.

Whitten's early work may loosely be termed geometric abstraction, but he is best known for his later representational paintings that combine his interest in architecture, invented machinery and toys. Whitten is also known for his toy-like sculptures. His paintings and drawings are essentially representational but have strong ties to geometric abstraction.

A native of New York City, Richard Whitten first attended the Collegiate School before studying economics at Yale where he received his BA in 1980. He then constructed a personal painting program at Yale where he studied with Gretna Campbell and Samia Halaby. In 1987, he received his Masters in Fine Art from the University of California, Davis where he studied with Wayne Thiebaud, Manuel Neri and Robert Arneson, among others. Whitten began his teaching career at Penn State in 1989 and, in 2006, was appointed professor of Painting at Rhode Island College, a position he continues to hold. From 2016–2018, he also served the college as chair of the art department.

The artist's work was discussed in detail in the feature article, "Richard Whitten: Portals to the Unconscious" in the January 2017 issue of The Artist's Magazine and was also included in the PBS video series Networks (2015–2016). His paintings have been featured on the cover of both The Artist Magazine (September, 2017) and American Psychologist Magazine (January, 2016).

Whitten has exhibited widely and with success and has been the subject of solo exhibitions at numerous national museums including the Newport Art Museum, Seattle's Frye Art Museum, Wheaton College in Massachusetts and at the Zillman Art Museum at the University of Maine Museum of Art among others.

Speaking of his work, the artist has said: “My paintings imply the existence of places and objects of desire that, like the garden and flowers in Alice in Wonderland, can be glimpsed but neither reached nor acquired. They are about intellectual play.”


Height: 48 inches / 121.92 cm
Width: 19 inches / 48.26 cm
Depth: 1.25 inches / 3.17 cm


Initialed lower left and dated in Roman numbers lower right

Condition Report

Minor restoration and losses.

Art Period




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