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Robert Freeman lectures at the University of Connecticut

 Digital Record


  • Creation: 1989 October 31


Robert Freeman (painter and instructor) lectured on 10/31/1989 (2015-0002/AC8) and spoke about the themes in his work over a ten year period through the presentation of a slideshow.

Biographical / Historical

Robert Freeman was born in in 1946 in Brooklyn, New York and spent much of his youth between Accra, Ghana and the United States. He attended Howard University for two years, studying art under Lois Jones before transferring to Boston University’s School of Visual Arts, where he earned his B.F.A. in 1971 and M.F.A in 1981.

Freeman began his career as the Art Director for the Weston Public Schools from 1973 to 1981. In 1981, he became Artist in Residence at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, MA where he remained for 27 years. From 1988 to 1994 he taught drawing and painting at Harvard University.

Known for his use of contrasting color, movement and nearly abstract figures, Freeman's paintings depict African American subjects, and are inspired by his childhood experiences in Ghana and Washington, D.C. In his 1981 series, Black Tie, Freeman explored and celebrated "the beauty, elegance and grace of the black middle class" through his personal experience.

Mardi Gras Indians, a joint series in 2018 with photographer Max Stern, broke new ground for Freeman with the use of gold leaf and feathers to capture the elaborate costumes worn by Mardi Gras Indians as they celebrated mid-parade.

In 2008, Freeman's paintings were exhibited in the Five American Voices exhibit among the works of Romare Bearden, Benny Andrews, Alma Woodsey Thomas, and Richard Yarde at the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C.

Black Tie, now part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s permanent collection, is among the numerous works of art that Freeman has shown nationally for over 40 years. Some of his paintings can be found in the collections at the National Center for African American Artists, Boston Public Library, DeCordova Museum, and Brown University among other institutions.

In addition to numerous gallery shows, Freeman's paintings have been featured in exhibitions at Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA.

In 1997, Freeman was awarded the Boston University Distinguished Alumni Award from the School of Visual Arts. Most recently, in 2020, Freeman was named the newest member of the Boston Arts Commission, where he will lend his vision for the display of public art across the city of Boston.

Freeman lives in Jamaica Plain, MA and works out of his studio in Waltham, MA.

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1 Cassettes (Audio cassette ) : AC 8 1 cassette, Side A-0:47:39, Side B-0:05:07. The recordings were combined for ease of listening. The combined run time of the digital recording is 0:52:42.

Existence and Location of Originals

Original audio recordings reside in the University of Connecticut, Black Experience in the Arts Collection, Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US