Robert Vickrey

American, 1926–2011

Shutter Patterns in the Corner, n.d.

Tempera on board

12½ x 17 inches

Signed lower left

Vickrey was born in Manhattan and studied art at the Pomfret School in Connecticut before enlisting in the Navy. He earned a BA and a BFA from Yale, where he mastered the technique of egg tempera painting. He also studied with Reginald Marsh and Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Art Students League in New York.

In the 1950s and 1960s Vickrey was a highly visible artist. He appeared in nine Whitney annuals and was commissioned to paint dozens of portraits for the cover of Time. He was also an avant-garde filmmaker, with a deep knowledge of expressionism and film noir, whose shadows, angles, and distortions he introduced into paintings such as the present work.

Vickrey’s paintings are often imbued with psychological overtones and have a feeling of the surreal. He had a fascination with recreating textures in his surroundings, as seen in his skillful rendering of the brickwork in Shutter Patterns in the Corner. Nuns were his favorite subject, explaining that “the particular order I depict is the perfect fusion of a beautiful abstract shape and a spiritual anachronism.”