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Richard Merkin



Richard Merkin (1938-2009) was an American painter and illustrator. His art revolved around an interest in the 1920’s and 1930’s, most notably scenes of bright colored jazz musicians, film stars, and sports heroes. Tom Wolfe, a writer and good friend to Merkin remarked that Merkin’s work was an eccentric approach to modernist art, with his overall use of a flat design and a rendering of colorful figures in comic poses and situations. 

Merkin received his undergraduate degree in fine art from Syracuse University in 1960 and then pursued a Masters degree in art from Michigan State University, and another Masters in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. After his graduation Merkin began his 42 year teaching career at RISD. Throughout his career, Merkin was a contributing editor for Vanity Fair and a regular contributor of illustrations to The New Yorker, as well as Harper's and The New York Times' Sunday Magazine. 

Merkin is represented in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Smithsonian Institution, Brooklyn Museum and the Whitney Museum, among others.