Bob Thompson: This House is Mine
June 17–September 11, 2022
Bob Thompson (American, 1937–1966), Blue Madonna, 1961, oil on canvas, 51 1/2 × 74 3/4 inches, The Detroit Institute of Arts, gift of Edward Levine in memory of Bob Thompson. © Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York. Photo: The Detroit Institute of Arts, USA / Bridgeman Images.
Bob Thompson in his studio on Rivington Street, New York, ca. 1964. © Charles Rotmil.
This nationally touring exhibition is the first major survey of work by American artist Bob Thompson (1937–1966) to be presented in more than two decades. It includes paintings and works on paper spanning his brief but prolific career, which is characterized by a rigorous engagement with art history and a commitment to expressive figuration.
Throughout Thompson’s practice, canonical European painting served as a point of departure for his radically inventive contemporary allegories. Inspired by European old masters such as Jacopo Tintoretto and Francisco de Goya, he developed a highly personal and symbolic visual vocabulary known for its characteristic vignettes of silhouetted figures and animals in pastoral settings. His paintings recast the mythological and religious narratives of his historical sources through his own aesthetic lens, producing fascinating and enigmatic compositions in a variety of scales and employing euphoric color.
Taking its title from one of his paintings, This House Is Mine traces Thompson’s transatlantic artistic journey as he wrestled with the exclusionary Western canon. The exhibition reflects and contextualizes his significance as a contemporary artist and illuminates critical questions about the politics of representation, particularly for Black artists, while presenting new possibilities for a more inclusive art history.
Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine is organized by the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine, and curated by Diana Tuite, Katz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Colby College Museum of Art, and generously supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, halley k harrisburg and Michael Rosenfeld, the Alex Katz Foundation, Richard and Mary L. Gray Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.
This exhibition is made possible by
Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor
Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
ACT Foundation, Inc.
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters
Robin and Hilton Howell
Ambassador Exhibition Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation
Elizabeth and Chris Willett
Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Farideh and Al Azadi
Sandra and Dan Baldwin
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
Mrs. Peggy Foreman
Helen C. Griffith
Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Dr. Joe B. Massey
Margot and Danny McCaul
Wade Rakes and Nicholas Miller
The Fred and Rita Richman Fund
In Memory of Elizabeth B. Stephens by Powell Stephens, Preston Stephens, and Sally Stephens Westmoreland
USI Insurance Services
Mrs. Harriet H. Warren
Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.