Robert Blackburn was an African-American artist and printmaker born in New Jersey to parents of Jamaican descent. Blackburn moved to Harlem as a small child, where he spent much of his life. Blackburn became interested in art as a teenager after enrolling in classes at the Harlem Arts Community Center.
1. Faux Pas. 1960. Lithograph. 22 ¼ x 16 5/8 in.
2. Color Symphony. 1960. Lithograph. 15 ¾ x 22 in.
In the 1940s Balckburn was able to continue his studies at the Art Students League, where he learned lithography under Will Barnet. By 1948, Blackburn helped to open the Printmaking Workshop. The workshop eventually became a cooperative, where Blackburn could continue to produce his own lithographs, woodcuts, intaglio prints and monoprints. While establishing his own printshop, Blackburn also worked as a master printer for Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE).
3. Blue Things. Woodcut. 20 x 26 in. Smithsonian.
5. Woodscape. Woodcut. 1984. 12 x 15 ¼ in. Estate of Robert Blackburn.
4. Girl in Red. Lithograph. 1950. Library of Congress.
By the time of his death, Blackburn had established his role as one of the most influential American print artists and master printers. As a printer, Blackburn helped print the work of major artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.