R.B. Kitaj: ObsessionsR.B. Kitaj: Obsessions

Biography

R.B. Kitaj

R. B. Kitaj (1932–2007) was one of the most significant
painters of the post-war period.

1932

Born on October 29 in Chagrin Falls near Cleveland, Ohio as Ronald Brooks-Benway; his mother, Jeanne Brooks, is the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, his father Sigmund Benway leaves the family soon after Kitaj's birth.

1941

Jeanne Brooks marries Walter Kitaj, a Viennese Jew who emigrated to the United States in 1938

1949

Kitaj joins the crew of the freighter SS Corona; works as a merchant seaman for spells until 1954

1950

Studies at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York.

1951/52

Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, with Fritz Wotruba and Albert Paris Gütersloh 1952 Second year of studies at Cooper Union

1953

Marries Elsi Roessler in New York (Protestant wedding). Returns to Vienna; first visit to Catalonia, Spain

1956/57

Serves in the U.S. Army in Darmstadt, Germany, and Fontainebleau, near Paris

1957-59

Studies at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford. Attends lectures by art historian Edgar Wind

1958

Birth of a son, Lemuel (Lem) 1959-61 Studies at the Royal College of Art, London; begins lifelong friendship with David Hockney

1963

First solo exhibition, at Marlborough Fine Art, London

1964

Adopts a daughter, Dominie 1965 Exhibition at the Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, New York

1967/68

Teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, art department 1969 Death of Kitaj's first wife, Elsi Roessler

1970/71

Teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles. Meets the American artist Sandra Fisher

1975

Visits an exhibition including works by Edgar Degas at Petit Palais, Paris

1978/79

Artist-in-residence at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. Teaches at Dartmouth College

1981/82

Retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio, and the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany

1982

Residence in Paris

1983

Marries Sandra Fisher in London's Spanish and Portuguese (Sephardic) Bevis Marks Synagogue, according to traditional rites

1984

Birth of a son, Max

1988

Erstes Manifest des Diasporismus, Arche Verlag, Zurich

1989

First Diasporist Manifesto, Thames & Hudson, London

1994

Retrospective at the Tate Gallery, London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Death of Sandra Fisher

1995

Awarded the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale

1996/97

Exhibitions Sandra One, Sandra Three (both at the Royal Academy, London), and Sandra Two (FIAC international contemporary art fair

1996

Espace Eiffel Branly, Paris, organized by Marlborough Fine Art, London)

1997

Returns to the U.S. with son Max; settles in Westwood, Los Angeles

1998

Retrospective at the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, the Jewish Museum Vienna, and the Sprengel Museum, Hannover

2001

Exhibition Kitaj - In the Aura of Cézanne and other Masters, National Gallery, London; Kitaj starts to write his autobiography Confessions of an old Jewish Painter

2003

Exhibition at the L.A. Louver Gallery, Los Angeles

2007

Second Diasporist Manifesto, Yale University Press, New Haven. R. B. Kitaj dies October 21