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Richard Wilt

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Richard Wilt, American, 1915-1981. A 1960s watercolor on paper depiction of Antiguan butterfly, titled "No. 30". Signed "Richard Wilt", dated "April 25, 1960" and titled lower left, Gilman Galleries, Chicago, IL tag verso. Image 39 3/4 x 26 1/4"high, in painted wooden frame 41 1/4 x 27 3/4" high overall.

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Richard Wilt, American, 1915-1981, was born in Tyrone, Pennsylvania. Educated at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (BFA 1938), the New School for Social Research in New York City with Stuart Davis (1945), and the University of Pittsburgh (MA 1953), Wilt was also a pilot of B-25 Bombers in the North African Theater during WWII (1942-1945).

After a brief time in the Art Department at the University of West Virginia (1946-1947), Wilt began working at the University of Michigan in 1947. His other teaching positions included those at the Somerset Summer Art School (1940), Oxbow Summer School of Art (1947), Wayne State University (1969) and the Cranbrook Academy of Art (1969).

His work is characterized by the variety of methods to achieve surface texture, including impeccable line drawing and scoring, precise blotting and bleeding of color, as well as meticulous beading and veining of pigment. He is well known for his figurative depictions, which usually feature inert, vacant-eyed, surrealistic forms, and for his “instant image” technique which he used to create atmospheric landscapes inspired by sabbaticals in Maine and Antigua.

“He deals with all these themes (and many more), altering his approach and treatment in tentative ways. But the consistent elements are the hard, clean lines of his drawing and a sure sense of arrangement: his figures seem to be acting out scenes which compose themselves...To say this is to recognize a skill which makes composition seem easy”

- “Crowding the Slusser Gallery with life, color”, Robert Iglehart, 1979

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