Last Painting, 1985-1993. Oil on linen, 60 x 48 inches
"…(De Niro’s) fluid choreography of painterly gestures and in hues ranging from muddy to incandescent – make them seem voluptuously alive. For a few years, he was the star of the New York art scene."
― Robert Storr, New York Times, 2014

Robert De Niro, Sr. (1922-1993) was an accomplished New York School artist and major contributor to post-war American art, known for his unique, bold style of painterly representation. De Niro approached this representative imagery in a highly original way: realistic subject matter served as the foundation for his intensely expressive brushstrokes and vibrant colors.

A distinct figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement, from the earliest days of his career, De Niro’s frequent exhibits at major New York galleries, (including a solo show at Peggy Guggenheim’s seminal Art of This Century gallery), garnered him critical accolades. Spanning four decades, the approximately seventy works in this exhibition—the first national tour of Robert De Niro’s work—showcase the depth and breadth of his innovative approach.

De Niro distinguished himself from his better-known peers, never abandoning classical tradition. His subjects were largely landscapes, nudes, and still lifes. But while his aesthetic was grounded in the subjects and styles of European Modernism, and he embraced the gestural painting of his American contemporaries—what he created was entirely his own. In his lifetime, De Niro did not achieve the same level of recognition or international fame as other New York School artists. Did his fierce independence stand in the way? This exhibition will explore this idea and the notion of how we define artistic success.

Throughout a life singularly focused on crafting his art, with his skilled draftsmanship, bold colors, imaginative use of line, and energetic brushwork, De Niro strived to reconcile the real with the abstract. In doing so, he created powerful works that today place him in the pantheon of important 20th century American painters.